Robins defeat play-off rivals to bolster top five aspirations - The Evesham Observer

Robins defeat play-off rivals to bolster top five aspirations

Evesham Editorial 28th Mar, 2017 Updated: 28th Mar, 2017   0

ON THE day that Hereford clinched the Southern League Division One South & West title, Evesham United boosted their play-off ambitions with an impressive 2-0 victory against fellow hopefuls Taunton Town in front of a crowd of 323 at the Jubilee Stadium.

The win lifted the Robins above Salisbury and into fourth place ahead of the midweek matches and keeps them seven points above sixth placed Mangotsfield United, who have a game in hand.

Boss Paul Collicutt was delighted with the efforts of his side after seeing their unbeaten run extend to five matches.

“It was a massive win and a top performance by us, but we had to battle and compete for the whole 90 minutes to get the result,” said the manager.

“To keep a clean sheet against the top scorers in the division is very pleasing and the save Big Kev (Kevin Sawyer) pulled off in the second half was outstanding.

“The two goals we scored were extremely well taken and the reaction from the supporters and players when Manny (Adam Mann) got the second goal was fantastic.

“However, the three points will mean nothing if we don’t get a positive result down at Tiverton on Saturday which is another huge game for us.”

Once again United were depleted through injury and unavailability with Carl Brown, Ashley Williams, Jake Sloggett, Leroy Odiero, Lance Smith, Elliot Kennedy and Sam Pearson all missing.

However, Collicutt named former Cheltenham Town and Gloucester City defender Matt Williams in his starting line-up after his return Australia.

Second placed Taunton arrived in a rich vein of form with just two defeats in 25 games and a tight first half showed both sides knew how important the game was.

The visitors did start the brighter with Matt Buse having an early effort deflected wide but, as United began to settle, they started to look dangerous themselves, with Bradley Gray flashing a shot wide and Lloyd Irish holding Archie Haskayne’s header beneath his crossbar.

On the half hour there appeared little danger when Jordan Bryan picked the ball up in midfield, but he was allowed to race unchallenged towards goal and power a shot beyond Irish to give United a 1-0 lead.

Within 60 seconds, however, Taunton had the ball in the net at the other end, but the Peacocks’ celebrations were immediately dampened when Craig Veal was adjudged offside.

United shaded possession for the rest of the first half and went into the break holding a one-goal lead.

Soon after half time, Sawyer kept United’s lead intact with a superb point-blank save to deny Veal who looked certain to score. Then, in the scramble that followed, Williams was on hand to clear off the line to keep out substitute Josh Searle.

Mann and Haskayne got shots on target before, with the game entering its sixth minute of stoppage time, Mann produced a moment of brilliance by tricking his way past three defenders and steering in his 12th goal of the season past Irish into the bottom corner.

The final whistle blew shortly afterwards and United were left to celebrate another vital win and rise in the play-off pack to withing touching distance of Taunton and Tiverton.

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