Evesham United 1 Stourbridge 2
TWO goals by Luke Benbow denied Evesham victory in their penultimate pre-season friendly on Saturday.
Lance Smith had earlier given United the lead just past the hour mark, only for the experienced Benbow to strike twice late on to hand the Glassboys victory at the Jubilee Stadium.
United had a long list of absentees but were able to name Brad Williams in midfield. He spent last season with National League South side Bath City.
The first half was mostly uneventful with goalmouth action and clearcut chances few and far between.
Stourbridge, however, did threaten approaching half time when Kevin Sawyer tipped over Jack Duggan’s header and then Joe Hull flashed a header across the face of goal following skipper Tom Tonks’ free kick.
The tempo of the game increased after the interval as Sawyer produced a brilliant save to keep out the speedy Chris Lait, who had got clean through on goal.
Nick Stanley replied for the Robins flashing a drive inches wide and then a combination of Hull and goalkeeper Matthew Gould snuffed out the danger after Smith had shown good skills to create an opening for himself on the edge of the box.
It was the hardworking Smith who edged United in front on 64 minutes when he latched on to Paul Fahy’s flick on before beating Gould with a shot that squirmed out of the keeper’s grasp and rolled into an empty net.
Higher graded Stourbridge responded to Gould’s error by equalising in the 73rd minute courtesy of Benbow’s close range header after Lewis Probert’s thunderous drive had come back off the crossbar.
Probert was then guilty of a glaring miss at the back post before Benbow found the target for a second time to win the game with two minutes to go.
Jack Heath’s free kick into the box was headed down by Duggan to the unmarked Benbow who coolly rounded Sawyer before finding the net.
The Robins host Malvern Town in their final friendly on Tuesday before visiting Salisbury in their Southern League Division One South & West opener on Saturday, which is followed by Tuesday’s home game against Didcot Town.