EVESHAM United head into Saturday’s final match of the regular Southern League West season at home to AFC Totton knowing victory will secure a home play-off.
The Robins, fourth heading into the weekend, may yet earn such a reward with as little as a point, or even a defeat, against their Hampshire visitors, depending on other results.
However, as the Observer went to press yesterday (Thursday), Paul Collicutt’s side were not even guaranteed their place in the end of season shoot-out at all. A top six finish will only have been secured ahead of the final round of games depending on the outcome of Didcot Town’s visit to North Leigh on Thursday. Victory for the visitors would have meant Evesham need a point on Saturday to be certain of clinching a play-off place.
In such a scenario, should Evesham lose, then Didcot, Cirencester Town and Swindon Supermarine would still all need to win on Saturday to deny Collicutt’s side.
United will head into the weekend in buoyant mood after successive away wins over the past week extended their impressive run of form to six victories in seven games.
Last Thursday’s 4-0 win at Shortwood United was followed by a 2-0 triumph at Mangotsfield United on Saturday, meaning Evesham can finish as high as third should they see off Totton and Wimborne Town lose at home to Slimbridge.
Saturday’s success was sealed thanks to goals came in the last five minutes of the first half. Adam Mann opened the scoring in the 40th minute with a fine individual goal as he capped a long run with a firm strike into the bottom corner of the net before Forest Green Rovers loanee Olly Mehew linked up well with Jordan Bryan to turn the latter’s low cross home from close range.
Leading scorer Mann also played a key role with a brace on Saturday, when Matt Liddiard and Mehew were also on the scoresheet.
Liddiard headed in the first after a right-wing cross from right-back Nick Hancock in the 21st minute before Mann scored his 20th league goal of the season to make it 2-0 in the 36th minute, finishing well after a winding run.
Mann’s second goal arrived in the 37th minute when he headed home from another accurate Hancock delivery and the icing was put on the cake in the 89th minute when Mehew – in his first start for the club – finished neatly.