A SUPERB strike by midfielder Ben Evans ensured Evesham United ended their nine-match pre-season programme on a winning note against West Midlands League Premier Division outfit Bewdley Town on Saturday.
It was a competitive workout for Paul Collicutt’s men at Ribbesford Meadows ahead of United’s Southern League Division One South & West opener at Fleet on Saturday.
Indeed, Bewdley’s Ben Bates was asked to leave the field after a succession of rash challenges and an unsavoury incident involving a number of United players in the second half.
The pacy Elliot Kennedy went close to giving the Robins an early lead when he headed Lewis Binns’ pinpoint delivery against the woodwork before Evans struck the only goal on 19 minutes.
The youngster seized on a poor clearance by Rob Galloway some 25 yards out and returned an unstoppable drive into the roof of the net beyond the bewildered Bewdley keeper.
In a rare breakaway by the hosts, Russ Godfrey pulled his shot wide and then Kennedy at the opposite end miskicked in front of goal from another excellent cross by the impressive Binns.
Jack Watts then squandered a good chance to increase United’s lead before half time, blazing over after Kennedy and the hardworking Aaron Drake had combined with some neat skills and trickery down the right.
Kennedy continued to cause the home side problems in the second half, having one shot cleared off the line by Shaun Wright after rounding Galloway and then setting up Carl Brown on his return from injury, but the latter failed to convert from close range.
Kevin Sawyer, who saw little of the ball in the United goal, made his only save of the game on the hour mark, superbly touching over Simon Rodd’s rasping drive.
The game then deteriorated following a number of customary substitutions, although Kennedy did go close again before the end, capitalising on poor marking at the back, but Galloway was up to the task to gather low at his near post as the visitors finished the contest on top.