TOUMANI SIDIBE’S first half goal proved enough to secure a 1-0 victory for Evesham United over lowly Barnstaple Town on Saturday and maintain the Robins’ outside chances of making the play-offs.
The defeat kept the Devon side deep in the relegation mire but was a boost for United on a day when play-off rivals Winchester City were beaten. However, the Hampshire side bounced back to defeat AFC Totton 2-1 in midweek to move into the final play-off spot – three points clear of Evesham with a game in hand.
Sandwiched between the sides in Southern League Division One South are Cinderford Town who are a point better off than Evesham, also with a game in hand.
Evesham know, in all likelihood, nothing but maximum points from their three remaining matches will do but even then they will require favours elsewhere. First up is Sunday’s visit of third-placed Moneyfields.
On Saturday, Saddam Bello’s early effort skimmed the United bar before the hosts threatened on 20 minutes when a fine move ended with Nick Hancock crossing to Steve Davies who headed into the arms of the advancing Barnstaple keeper.
The only goal of the game arrived four minutes later when an Evesham bombardment of the visitors’ goal culminated in Sidibe crashing home his first goal for the club in emphatic style.
Barnstaple were far from done and should have levelled five minutes into the second half when Steven Holland sliced wide of Andy Hannah’s goal from close range following a teasing cross from the left.
Kane Simpson and Sidibe continued to threaten but a second goal eluded Evesham and they were nearly made to pay when, from an 81st-minute corner, Holland’s header was smartly kept out by Hannah.
Bello was sent off for the visitors in a nervy period of injury time but Evesham did enough to keep their season alive.