EVESHAM United will go into the final match of the Southern League Division One South & West season with a chance of bagging second place and ensuring home fixtures in both the play-off semi-final and potential final following Saturday’s hard fought 2-1 home win over Tiverton Town.
The Robins made it one defeat in 27 games and nine wins in a row with victory over the Devon outfit at the Jubilee Stadium and Paul Collicutt’s side will now have to better Stratford Town’s result on Saturday to finish second.
Evesham travel to mid-table Bridgwater Town whilst Stratford face a stern test at champions Merthyr Town.
Missing reliable keeper Kevin Sawyer with a bad back, Collicutt drafted in ex-Bishops Cleeve stopper Jonathan Skeen to take his place between the sticks.
However, in front of a crowd of 408, Evesham put in a lacklustre performance in the first half.
In the 18th minute good work down the left by Lee Smith saw his cross flash across the six-yard box, but there was nobody who could get a decisive touch to it.
It was the visitors who took the lead in the 25th minute with their only chance of the first half when defensive uncertainty down the middle led to Tony Lee profiting and comfortably scoring into an empty net.
Evesham responded just after the half hour when a shot on the turn from Carl Brown was tipped over the bar by Tiverton goalkeeper Chris Wright.
Just before half time Marcus Jackson crossed for Adam Mann whose shot went just over the bar and Carl Brown then had a header that went close from a Nick Stanley free kick.
Evesham started the second half on the front foot and it was no surprise when the home side equalised in the 52nd minute following a pass from Marcus Jackson that was hooked in by captain Matt Sysum.
The game then settled into a long period of stalemate with Evesham showing a little more attacking intent and Tiverton happy enough to wait for the break.
In the 79th minute a Sean Wood free kick found Sysum whose free header went wide, but two minutes later came the decisive moment of the game when Sysum set up Lance Smith who showed good control to score from eight yards – his fourth goal in four games.
The Robins’ unbeaten run now stretches to 14 matches. Their home play-off semi-final will be on Tuesday, April 28 against either Taunton Town or Larkhall Athletic.
In other news, Evesham United Reserves secured a 1-0 victory at Lichfield City Reserves and after Saturday’s first team game Evesham United Supporters Club announced their Player of the Season as goalkeeper Kevin Sawyer.
United’s Carl Brown gets stuck in on Saturday. Picture by Stuart Purfield. (www.stuartpurfield.co.uk).