HONOURS were even in a 1-1 draw between Evesham United and Stourbridge in Tuesday’s latest pre-season friendly at the Jubilee Stadium.
It was an entertaining affair between Paul Collicutt’s Robins and Evo-Stik Northern Premier League newcomers Stourbridge in which once again United striker Ashley Edenborough gave evidence that he looks a shrewd summer signing with a superb second half equaliser against higher graded opponents.
The Glassboys looked strong and dangerous in the first half, enjoying large chunks of possession and creating the better chances.
Ben Billingham showed first for the visitors, spurning an early opportunity, and then Louie Harris was narrowly wide of the target with a powerful drive from distance.
United’s skipper for the evening Kevin Sawyer was then brought into action, making smart saves to keep out Joshua Morgan-Parker, Billingham and the lively Kyle Haynes as Stourbridge remained on the front foot.
Former Evesham keeper Dean Coleman was tested for the first time when he held on to Lance Smith’s snap-shot, but the Glassboys’ pressure was finally rewarded in the final minute of the half when George Washbourne opened the scoring with a deflected shot that sent Sawyer the wrong way and trickled into the net.
Evesham improved dramatically after the restart courtesy of a number of half time substitutions, but Smith was unable to get a final touch to Elliot Kennedy’s low cross to the near post and then had an effort charged down following Sean Wood’s quickly taken free kick.
Coleman then denied Edenborough with a brave block and Jack Watts following up guided his header too high.
Coleman, however, could do little to stop Edenborough’s equaliser when the former Swindon Supermarine goal-getter netted with a sublime finish after receiving Wood’s inch-perfect pass.
Good vision by Wood soon after the goal picked out Watts, but the youngster was unable to get a decent strike on the ball with only Coleman in his sights.
With the game moving into stoppage time, Sawyer prevented Stourbridge from snatching a late winner when he superbly saved Billingham’s free kick, diving full stretch to his right when the ball looked destined to find the roof of the net.
EVESHAM United’s hectic pre-season schedule continued last Friday night when a team featuring a mixture of youngsters and trialists were held to a 1-1 draw by neighbours Pershore Town at King George V Playing Field.
After four warm-up games in seven days, Robins manager Collicutt rested key players, enabling a number to stake their claim for a starting place in United’s Southern League Division One South & West opener at Fleet Town on Saturday, August 9.
Evesham made a bright and breezy start as Smith and Ben Evans both tested Town keeper Paul Maynard and then the experienced Kevin Slack somehow blazed his shot wide of an open goal after being set up by Kennedy.
Town striker Phil Marsh had his free kick charged down at the other end before Smith fired the Robins ahead on 33 minutes after the versatile Aaron Drake found Slack down the left and from the winger’s cross Smith arrived at the back post for a simple tap-in.
During the latter stages of the first half, Slack was guilty of another glaring miss, this time after Maynard had saved well from Smith.
Despite Kennedy, Michael Tambling and skipper Matt Sysum all going close for Evesham at the start of the second half, it was Pershore who found the net to draw level in the 55th minute when Dane Aldington’s through ball enabled Grant Baker to round reserve stopper Josh Goddard before rolling the ball into an empty net.
Moments later, Baker went close to adding a second for the hosts when his near post header flew just over.
Smith then got himself into a couple of good positions but was foiled by the brave Maynard who spread himself well to keep the score level.
Evesham went on to finish the game strongly but could not find a way past Maynard for a deserved winner.
Drake smacked a tremendous drive against the woodwork with Maynard beaten and then in stoppage time the Pershore gloveman gathered confidently from Slack before holding substitute Will Wellon’s glancing header beneath his crossbar.
Evesham’s opening home game is against Bridgwater Town on Saturday, August 16. Other key dates include a home derby against Stratford Town on Boxing Day and a final day visit to Bridgwater Town on April 25.