SUNDAY’S trip to Sholing cannot come quickly enough for Evesham United who are keen to build on a dramatic but successful week in both league and cup.
The Robins ensured an all too rare progression beyond the FA Cup preliminary round with a 2-1 home win over Harefield United on Sunday before coming from two goals down to secure a thrilling 4-3 victory over visitors Slimbridge in Southern League Division One South on Wednesday.
It was a first win in three league games this season for Carl Abbott’s side and provides an important base to build on this weekend before another away game on Tuesday when a visit to Somerset beckons to tackle Frome Town.
Evesham, who will now host higher-ranked Southern Premier South side Dorchester Town in the FA Cup first qualifying round on Saturday, September 7, were indebted to Kai Tonge who proved their two-goal hero against Harefield.
On his home debut, Tonge gave United the lead midway through the first half when he burst from the halfway line into the visitors’ box before firing a superb strike beyond the keeper.
Danny Bragoli and Lee Chilton both went close to doubling the lead before the break but Harefield improved in the second half and Lenny Farhall’s goalbound header was expertly tipped around the post by Evesham keeper Lochie Robertson.
However, it was 2-0 on 52 minutes when Tonge netted with another fine individual effort, although there was a nervy finish for the hosts during five minutes of added time following Sam Shaw’s emphatic 86th-minute penalty.
Nobody could have predicted the drama that was to unfold three days later when Slimbridge returned to Gloucestershire empty-handed after a seven-goal thriller.
Tonge continued his impressive form with a goal after 23 seconds to put Abbott’s side ahead but it was 1-1 within two minutes when the impressive Soloman Wanjau-Smith levelled and midway through the half the visitors were in front when Tom Handley’s low free kick eluded everyone and crept into the far bottom corner of the net.
Evesham were well below par in the first half as, despite looking threatening in attack, looked extremely vulnerable in passing out from the back and could count themselves fortunate not to be further adrift at the break.
They soon were though as Myron Turner was left unmarked at the back post to make it 3-1 shortly into the second half.
However, to their immense credit, Evesham rolled their sleeves up and reduced their arrears on 59 minutes when substitute Dave Reynolds set up Matt Dodd whose effort was blocked but only as far as Chilton who fired emphatically into the roof of the net.
Within a minute the match was all square after a goal in similar fashion when another substitute, Taylor Morrison, got free on the left and pulled the ball back for the onrushing Chilton to again make no mistake.
By this stage the match was end to end and it was impossible to predict a winner. Morrison had a shot blocked on the line on 67 minutes but Evesham were ahead two minutes later when Jordon Sangha’s corner found its way into the net via a couple of deflections, much to Slimbridge’s dismay.
There was still time for Slimbridge to salvage something from the game and the perfect chance arrived on 84 minutes when Turner was tripped in the box by Aaron Roberts but Jack Horrell, who agreed to join Evesham this summer before moving to Slimbridge, saw his low penalty well saved by Robertson diving full length to his right.