EVESHAM United maintained their relentless push towards securing a Southern League Division One South & West play-off place with two more victories over the past week.
Saturday’s 1-0 win at Sholing was followed by a 3-0 triumph at Wantage Town on Tuesday which extended the Robins’ brilliant run of form to just one defeat in 17 matches and left them third in the table – with an 11-point advantage over the highest placed team outside the play-off places.
On an appalling Alfredian Park surface on Tuesday, it was another complete performance from the Robins to move within three points of second placed Taunton Town, but Paul Collicutt’s men have played one game more.
In a dramatic start to the game, United forged ahead after just 25 seconds when Jared Wilson converted George Washbourne’s low cross with a first-time drive past Freds keeper Gareth Tucker.
After intense United pressure, it soon became 2-0 when Wilson got his second goal on 11 minutes with a superb volley after more good work by the impressive Washbourne.
For the rest of the first half it was one-way traffic towards the Wantage goal. Tucker was at full stretch to keep out Lee Smith and then Ashley Edenborough wriggled past several defenders before prodding just wide with Tucker beaten.
A breakaway goal never looked likely for the hosts, although Mark Janes did fire a couple of efforts over, but in the last action of the half visiting skipper Matt Sysum was close to making it three when his header thumped against the crossbar with Tucker rooted to his line.
It was more of the same in the second half and no surprise when it became 3-0 on 57 minutes. Washbourne collected the ball out wide before beating his marker and sending a terrific shot past Tucker into the roof of the net.
The rest of the game was somewhat of an anti-climax with the three points already in the bag, although Smith smacked a shot against a post and Tucker was in the thick of the action in making important stops from Adam Mann and Liam Harding as United continued to dominate.
In the closing stages, substitute Kevin Slack was close to getting on the scoresheet for United with a rocket of a shot and in stoppage time Marcus Jackson got the better of his full back to fizz a drive just past an upright as United finished on the front foot.
GEORGE Washbourne was Evesham’s match-winner in a one-sided victory at the Silverlake Arena on Saturday, despite the tight scoreline.
Washbourne struck the only goal in first half stoppage time, but the margin of victory would have been much greater had it not been for the heroics of Boatmen goalkeeper Matt Brown, who pulled off a catalogue of top class saves to keep the United forwards at bay.
Once again only three substitutes could be named on the Evesham bench as Lewis Binns, Linden Dovey, Jackson, Carl Brown and last season’s leading scorer Lance Smith were all absent for the trip to Southampton.
Sholing were pegged back straight from the kick-off and Brown was soon tested, making an excellent point-blank block to keep out Sean Wood.
Robins skipper Sysum directed Wilson’s free kick just off target and then Nick Stanley shot wide after being set up by Mann.
Brown then produced two superb stops in quick succession, getting a hand to touch over strikes from Mann and Edenborough.
With United camped in the Sholing half, the quick-thinking Edenborough then had a goal chalked off when Brown fumbled in the six-yard box, but Edenborough was adjudged to have taken the ball out of the stopper’s grasp before finding the net.
Kevin Sawyer – a spectator in the United goal up to this point – then made decent saves himself when Nick Watts fired in a couple of breakaway shots for the hosts.
However, with the half about to go into injury time, Washbourne – who was a constant threat for United – collected the ball down the right and cut inside before sending an unstoppable drive into the top corner of Brown’s net.
Evesham’s relentless pressure continued in the second half as Sholing’s labouring defence was constantly ripped apart with ease by United’s rampant strikeforce.
Brown was beaten, only for Wood’s shot to hit a post before being cleared, and then the overworked keeper was again at his best in making outstanding saves to deny Edenborough, Mann and the tricky Lee Smith.
The Robins host Wimborne Town on Saturday.