JAZZ LUCKIE netted four times to end Evesham United’s Southern League Cup challenge at the first hurdle as Stratford Town won 7-4 in an enthralling encounter at the Jubilee Stadium on Wednesday.
There had already been five goals by the time the floodlights went out midway through the first half due to a generator failure – but the subsequent 15-minute delay was not even half of the drama.
Town opened the scoring in the third minute through Ben Stephens’ excellent 20-yard free kick but United were level two minutes later when Jordan Bryan’s cross was turned into his own net by Christian Tudorache.
The Robins led on eight minutes when a poor clearance by Stratford keeper Louis Connor was collected by Adam Mann who powered into the box before rifling home.
However, Luckie restored parity on 11 minutes with a mazy run and finish before restoring his side’s lead on 18 minutes with a thunderous 16-yard strike.
Then came the unscheduled delay but, once the lights were back on, it was Stratford who looked the livelier and Stephens grabbed his second goal of the night with another superb free kick in the 26th minute.
Evesham rallied but could not find another goal before the break and fell 5-2 down on 48 minutes when Luckie produced another clinical finish after a strong run into the box.
However, Paul Collicutt’s side were not finished and gave themselves hope on 63 minutes when Lewis Powell converted from Mann’s cross.
It truly was game on a minute later when Carl Brown scored with his first touch of the game having come on as substitute just 40 seconds before.
At this point the Robins seemed to be taking control of the game with Brown failing to hit the target twice – one over the bar and one just wide – before Bradley Gray fired a free kick over the bar.
Stratford rode their luck and went 6-4 up when Luckie again finished smartly in the 84th minute before substitute Edwin Ahenkorah completed the scoring in the 90th minute with a shot which beat Sam Gilder at his near post.
It was a night when the Southern Premier side’s quality finishing proved the difference, leaving Evesham bidding to bounce back on Saturday when they visit third placed Salisbury in Southern League West, followed by Wednesday’s visit of Kidlington to the Jubilee.
IT WAS a Saturday to forget for fifth placed United as they slipped to a 2-0 home loss to Didcot Town.
Evesham almost took an early lead but Powell fired into the side-netting in the second minute before Stuart Cattell met a superb cross with an equally fine header to put Didcot ahead in the tenth minute.
Evesham’s response was emphatic but Powell and Matt Liddiard narrowly missed the target and the hosts trailed 1-0 at the break.
Six minutes into the second half Ethan Moore headed just over from Lorcan Sheehan’s corner – one of 12 for United compared to Didcot’s one – but it was not to be for the hosts.
Didcot missed a golden chance to double their lead in the 55th minute when Leroy Odeiro’s foul on George Reid following a Matt Bennett mistake resulted in a penalty, but Kevin Sawyer made a brilliant save to deny Reid from 12 yards.
Brazilian striker Felipe Barcelos did make it 2-0 though 15 minutes from time when he found himself in acres of space on the edge of the box and picked his spot beyond Sawyer.
Evesham came very close to scoring a late consolation when Moore hit the post from close range but it was Didcot who took a deserved three points home.
As Evesham are out of the FA Trophy, they have brought forward their home game with Mangotsfield United from Wednesday, November 29 to Saturday, October 28 (3pm).