EVESHAM United entertain Hampshire outfit Blackfield & Langley in Southern League Division One South on Saturday buoyed by Monday’s hard-fought 1-0 win at Cinderford Town.
Nathan Summers’ 12th-minute effort was the match-winner for the Robins and proved the perfect tonic to Saturday’s disappointing FA Cup exit first hurdle exit at Rugby Town.
Paul Collicutt’s men were beaten 1-0 by their lower ranked hosts in the preliminary round at Butlin Road as Richard Blythe’s second half goal booked the Warwickshire side a first qualifying round encounter at Redditch United.
United now head into this weekend’s encounter with two league wins to their name from three matches – leaving them a point behind their opponents – and Collicutt has to shuffle his pack due to defensive problems.
Both Summers and Ashley Williams were injured during Monday’s victory and the latter is a certainty to spend a lengthy spell on the sidelines – around two to three months – having suffered suspected knee ligament damage.
Midfielder Williams, playing as a makeshift centre-back, lasted just seven minutes before being stretchered off and fellow centre-back Summers departed the action in the final quarter with a groin strain which will need assessing.
Summers had, however, made the game’s most telling contribution by heading home from Joe Tumelty’s corner in the 12th minute.
On Saturday, Blythe’s impressive finish into the top corner came on 52 minutes and proved enough to secure a deserved victory for the home side.
The hosts made an encouraging start, with Loyiso Recci heading Marsden’s corner just wide of the target and Blythe having a shot blocked by Will Tunnicliff in the opening exchanges.
A speculative effort by Marsden was deflected over for a corner and Luke Edwards’ goalbound header appeared to be blocked by one of his own team-mates as Town continued to probe.
The Robins’ first real foray on Matt Hill’s goal saw skipper Archie Haskayne drag wide on 25 minutes, but generally Rugby’s rejigged defensive formation was coping well with any threat from the visitors.
A Blythe surge into the penalty area was halted by a good saving tackle from Tunnicliff, before Evesham put in their best spell of the first period when Marley Thomas tested Hill for the first time in the game and Sean Brain headed Haskayne’s cross too high.
Rugby ended the half with a great opportunity to take the lead though, but United keeper Harvey Rivers pulled off a fine double save to deny both Marsden’s initial strike and Danico Johnson’s follow-up.
Shortly after the restart, Rivers was back in the action again parrying away a Johnson shot on the turn, although United then nearly capitalised on a long goal-kick from Rivers but the bounce of the ball was not kind to Brain in Town’s box.
Blythe’s powerful winner came after Rugby had stolen possession in the middle of the park, with Johnson, Marsden and Rankin all involved before the goalscorer skipped into the penalty area to fire past Rivers.
Evesham responded well and Tyrone Tucker-Dixon had a shot blocked before the ball was ultimately looped back towards the unmarked Summers, but the defender snatched at his header and could only send it straight at Hill and with it went Evesham’s best chance to stay in the competition.