Franklin hat-trick fires Robins into FA Trophy first round - The Evesham Observer

Franklin hat-trick fires Robins into FA Trophy first round

Evesham Editorial 2nd Nov, 2020   0

EVESHAM United reached the FA Trophy first round proper for only the second time in their history thanks to a superb hat-trick from Harry Franklin which saw off Leek Town 3-2 on Saturday.

The Northern Premier League South/East Division visitors to the Jubilee found themselves 3-0 down to Franklin’s treble in the third qualifying round encounter and, despite a valiant fightback, could not prevent the Robins clinching a home tie against divisional rivals Bideford (date TBC).

The Staffordshire side, who play at the same level as Evesham, included vastly experienced defender Ryan Shotton in their ranks having persuaded the former Stoke City and Birmingham City man to pull on his boots to ease a defensive injury crisis.

However, Shotton and Co were given the runaround by Evesham who made a blistering start to the match.

Franklin’s early cross narrowly failed to find a team-mate and soon afterwards the former Redditch United midfielder was inches away from converting Aaron Basford’s teasing centre.

It did not long much longer for the opening goal to arrive though as Franklin coolly slotted past Daniel Roberts in the Leek goal in the 14th minute.

Leek played some excellent football and threatened an equaliser as Robins skipper Matt Williams and Co were forced to concentrate hard in defence.

However, the majority of the 271 crowd were cheering on 25 minutes when excellent football involving Adam Mace and Jack Horrell fed Franklin who powered home to make it 2-0.

A serious head/neck injury to Leek’s Rob Stevenson followed by five minutes of treatment before being stretchered off led to seven minutes of first half injury-time but there was no further scoring in the opening period.

Leek came flying out of the blocks in the second half but Will Saxon’s strike was straight at Lewis Clayton before Dan Tricket-Smith’s long-range effort cannoned off the crossbar.

What would prove to be a crucial third goal came Evesham’s way just before the hour mark when a fine run by Basford ended with him feeding Mace whose ball into the box found Franklin to complete his treble.

An unmarked Saxon reduced Leek’s arrears five minutes later before James Kirby capitalised on hesitant defending to make it 3-2 on 70 minutes, but United were not to be denied.

Resurgent Evesham return to Southern League Division One South action at Mangotsfield United – still without a point after seven matches – on Tuesday when they will seek a third win of the league campaign.

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