EVESHAM United secured a fourth successive Southern League Division One South & West victory as they defeated high-flying North Leigh on Wednesday.
The 2-1 win at their second placed Oxfordshire hosts lifted Paul Collicutt’s side into eighth place and was the perfect way to build on Saturday’s 6-0 thrashing of AFC Totton at the Jubilee Stadium.
The resurgent Robins are now within five points of the play-off places and will be looking to maintain their impressive form when they host Slimbridge on Tuesday.
The visitors made a strong start at Eynsham Hall Park and took the lead in the tenth minute when Lance Smith headed home from a corner.
The hosts then came back into the match and equalised in the 17th minute when a Morgan Williams shot took a big deflection into the net, but Evesham were not to be denied and secured their third away win of the league campaign when good approach work from Smith saw Adam Mann net from 12 yards in the 58th minute.
Smith went very close to making it 3-1 when he fired into the side-netting before Robins keeper Kevin Sawyer kept the North Leigh attack at bay with a fine save with his leg which made sure of a deserved victory against a side who will surely finish in the top five this season.
Smith’s hat-trick delight
ON SATURDAY Smith scored a superb hat-trick to ensure AFC Totton went back to Hampshire on the back of a hiding.
The Evesham-based striker struck three times in the second half and, had it not been for an outstanding display by Totton goalkeeper Steve Mowthorpe, United’s final goal tally would have been well into double figures.
On a ‘pay as you like’ day at the Jubilee Stadium, it was United who cashed in on hesistancy in the Stags defence to take a sixth-minute lead.
Patrick Wilson, who looked uncomfortable at the back all afternoon, dithered on the ball in attempting to clear Nick Stanley’s cross and leading scorer Mann pounced to calmly stroke home his eighth goal of the season.
Evesham dominated possession but found Mowthorpe in top form and the next best clearcut chance before half time fell Smith’s way but the former Badsey Rangers striker lifted the ball over the crossbar with the goal at his mercy.
A strong start to the second half by the Red & Whites was rewarded with a second goal in the 54th minute when Smith latched on to a delicious through ball by midfield maestro Ashley Williams and rounded Mowthorpe before finding the net from a tight angle.
On 71 minutes Lewis Powell, a recent signing from league rivals Mangotsfield United who had replaced the hardworking Mann, then got down the left and found the unmarked Smith who rifled in an unstoppable drive beyond the diving Mowthorpe.
With 75 minutes on the clock debutant Powell got on the scoresheet for the first time in United colours to make it 4-0 after outpacing the Totton defence and showing great composure before side-stepping Mowthorpe and confidently rolling the ball home.
By now Totton had thrown the towel in and were praying to hear the final whistle, but there was still time for United to score another two goals.
With three minutes remaining captain Matt Sysum, who again led by example, met Sean Wood’s corner to stab in his fifth goal of the campaign and then three minutes into stoppage time Smith capped another impressive display by completing his hat-trick with a well-directed header courtesy of Clayton Green’s inch-perfect cross to seal United’s biggest win of the season so far.