EVESHAM United’s bid to reach the Worcestershire Senior Cup final was thwarted as National League North outfit Worcester City booked their place in Saturday’s Aggborough showpiece against Redditch United thanks to a 2-1 victory at the Jubilee Stadium on Monday.
Tristian Dunkley’s winning goal ten minutes from time clinched victory for City in a competitive workout, on the same night Redditch defeated Kidderminster Harriers 3-0 in a penalty shoot-out at the Valley Stadium following a 1-1 draw.
Evesham’s cause was not helped when Marcus Jackson was sent off just after the hour mark and then Liam Harding limped off, leaving the Robins to play the last ten minutes or so with just nine men.
After a cagey opening, the game sprung to life when United took a 12th minute lead. Ashley Williams threaded a ball in from the right which found its way to last season’s leading scorer Ashley Edenborough and he coolly buried a shot past Daniel Lloyd-Weston into the bottom corner.
City should have levelled moments later but, after charging down Josh Goddard’s attempted clearance, Ryan Rowe contrived to lift his shot over the crossbar with the goal at his mercy.
However, a period of City pressure was rewarded in the 26th minute when Sean Geddes squared the tie at 1-1 with a well struck drive beyond the reach of reserve team goalkeeper Goddard.
The young stopper then safely gathered Daniel Nti’s flicked header at his near post and then watched Alex Gudger’s header sail over from Ellis Deeney’s corner as Carl Heeley’s men pressed for an interval lead.
Despite this, it was United who finished the half on the front foot, as Jared Wilson volleyed wide from distance and then Edenborough drove the wrong side of an upright with Lloyd-Weston beaten.
Evesham then faced an uphill task in the second half following Jackson’s departure after an altercation with City’s Darren Campion and they were fortunate to remain on level terms when Nti crashed a shot against the woodwork and Geddes following up blazed the rebound high and wide.
At the opposite end United had penalty appeals turned down after Lee Smith was sent sprawling in the box before Dunkley settled the contest in the 80th minute by sweeping the ball home after a clearance by the Evesham defence fell kindly into the path of the City substitute.
EVESHAM were edged out 2-1 by visitors Stratford Town in last Thursday’s friendly at the Jubilee Stadium.
Stratford, who clinched promotion from Southern League Division One South & West via the play-offs last season after the Robins had fallen at the semi-final stage, provided a good test.
The visitors took the lead with their first attack when Dior Angus fired past Kevin Sawyer with barely 60 seconds on the clock and Town continued to look the better side as the prolific Richard Gregory went close to doubling the lead, but blazed over following good approach play by Robert Thompson-Brown down the right.
Slowly but surely, United began to put their game together and were rewarded on 27 minutes when the popular Jackson unleashed an unstoppable drive into the top corner beyond the diving Andy Kemp.
However, five minutes before half time Stratford regained the lead courtesy of a fine strike from the dangerous Thompson-Brown who curled the ball in from just outside the penalty box.
Despite making eight substitutions in the second half, United looked the better side and twice went close to levelling the contest through Edenborough and then Kevin Slack as both struck the Stratford woodwork before the danger was cleared.
In the closing stages Town substitute Edwin Ahenkorah created a couple of openings for himself but failed to add to the visitors’ tally and at the other end the lively Edenborough fired several efforts across the face of goal without a team-mate on hand to apply the finishing touches for a deserved equaliser.
UNITED face Kidderminster Harriers in the Worcestershire Senior Cup third/fourth place play-off at Bromsgrove Sporting’s Victoria Ground home on Saturday (3pm).