EVESHAM United head into a key game at fellow Southern League West play-off hopefuls Didcot Town still smarting from Saturday’s hugely disappointing 5-2 home defeat to Cirencester Town.
Despite the setback, the Robins remain in the play-off places – occupying the final position in fifth – but, with teams below them having games in hand, can ill afford to lose to a Didcot side who have reached the League Cup semi-finals and sit a place below United on goal difference.
Evesham boss Paul Collicutt was fuming after the Cirencester setback, which came on the back of successive away wins, and has demanded a response in Oxfordshire on Saturday, before another vital match at home to lowly Slimbridge on Wednesday.
The hosts began Saturday’s match well as the visitors were put under intense pressure but it was Cirencester who broke away to open the scoring on 12 minutes when Tommy Anderson crossed to the back post for Henry Spalding to finish with a low drive.
Their lead was doubled 20 minutes later when another counter-attack resulted in Louis Spalding crossing from the right for Ben Whitehead to head home at the near post.
Evesham midfielder and former Cirencester captain Matt Liddiard continued his prolific season in front of goal by reducing the arrears two minutes before half time when he nodded home from Adam Mann’s free kick.
There was huge controversy when Town restored their two-goal cushion five minutes into the second half as a speculative volley from Adam Connolly was diverted into the net by Whitehead and the goal was allowed to stand despite the latter appearing to look well offside.
There were no Evesham complaints eight minutes later though when Henry Spalding was given the freedom of the Jubilee Stadium to stroll forwards before dispatching the ball under Kevin Sawyer.
Whitehead took advantage of more slack defending to complete his hat-trick 12 minutes from time before Town’s Louis Spalding was sent off for a second yellow card and Liddiard netted his second of the game in the 92nd minute, but it was no consolation for a dejected United.