A LATE winner from Jamie Lucas breathed life into Evesham United’s Southern League Division One South play-off bid as visitors Melksham Town were beaten 1-0 on Saturday.
The Robins’ second successive league win leaves them eighth ahead of Saturday’s trip to mid-table Willand Rovers, although Carl Abbott’s men are two points behind Paulton Rovers in the final play-off spot having played two more games.
Fellow hopefuls Melksham have slipped to sixth as a result of their defeat in a game which was played in extremely windy conditions.
Evesham had the wind behind them in the first half but were guilty of a number of overhit passes and had only a couple of dangerous Adam Page crosses to get the Jubilee faithful excited in the opening quarter.
The first clear chance of the game was created by Melksham but United keeper Lochie Robertson produced a superb save to keep out Steve Murray’s thumping left-footed strike before the home defence cleared the resulting danger.
Paul Sullivan then fired wide and Lucas saw a shot saved by Jamie Bartlett as Evesham rallied, but Robertson was forced into another brilliant save just before the break when Phil Ormrod showed great strength to hold off his marker and bring another point-blank superb stop from the home keeper.
The second half began in driving rain which lashed across the pitch, but there was almost an opening goal for Evesham soon into the period, only for Harry Franklin to head over from a corner.
Midway through the second half Melksham’s Luke Ballinger and Ormrod were thwarted by last-ditch penalty area blocks and the hosts’ determined defending was fully rewarded when Lucas bagged the only goal on 77 minutes.
Lucas picked up a loose ball just inside the visitors’ half and brought the ball under control before driving towards goal and firing low into the net from 22 yards to put the hosts ahead.
Evesham then defended resolutely to seal a vital three points and the closest Melksham came to a leveller was when Jack Ball shot over through a crowd of players.