Robins left feeling frosty after late postponement - The Evesham Observer

Robins left feeling frosty after late postponement

Evesham Editorial 30th Nov, 2016   0

EVESHAM United were left frustrated in their bid to stretch their winning Southern League Division One South & West run to 12 matches when Tuesday’s match at Didcot Town was postponed just two hours before kick-off.

United players had already travelled to Oxfordshire after the hosts said earlier in the day that the match was definitely on, but a frozen goalmouth put paid to an encounter which would have pitted two sides together who had won their past 16 league games between them.

Paul Collicutt’s side will now turn their attentions to Saturday’s visit to Taunton Town as they bid to continue their relentless pursuit of title favourites Hereford.

On Saturday Evesham’s biggest crowd of the season – 402 – witnessed a five-goal thriller in which the ten-man Robins hung on to defeat much-fancied Salisbury 3-2 at the Jubilee Stadium.

United were three goals to the good entering the last ten minutes but then two late strikes by the visitors set up a grandstand finish in which United held on by the skin of their teeth to record a highly impressive 11th league win in a row and remain second in the table, eight points adrift of leaders Hereford.

It might have been a different story had big-spending Salisbury put away a series of early chances as United struggled to settle and were second best for the opening 15 minutes or so.

After just four minutes Eddie Perrett should have done better but had his header pushed away by ex-Salisbury goalkeeper Kevin Sawyer and then the prolific Justin Bennett contrived to drag the ball wide when he looked odds-on to find the net.

After an uncomfortable start, United began to get their game together and were denied an opening goal by Elliot Wheeler who cleared Ashley Williams’ header off the line with keeper Alex Bass beaten.

Lance Smith glanced just wide but got himself on the scoresheet on 34 minutes for the 20th time this season when he stooped to head home from close range.

It was end-to-end stuff for the rest of the first half as Lewis Binns and Paul Fahy fizzed shots wide for the hosts and Sawyer was called upon to make crucial stops from the dangerous Tommy Wright and Bennett.

During the opening exchanges of the second half Sawyer was relieved to see George Colson’s free kick clear his crossbar and at the opposite end Perrett made a good block to deny Mark Magee.

However, on 65 minutes United doubled their lead courtesy of the hardworking Williams who cleverly diverted Joe Turley’s shot from outside the box beyond the stranded Bass and into the opposite corner.

This gave Collicutt’s men some breathing space but shortly afterwards Binns was shown a straight red card by referee Mr Price for an alleged headbutt on a Salisbury defender, leaving United to see out the remainder of the game with ten men.

However, against the odds the Red and Whites increased their lead to 3-0 on 74 minutes when Adam Mann’s corner was met by Nick Stanley whose bullet header from six yards beat Bass all ends up.

Yet, in a frantic finish, Salisbury scored twice in three minutes to keep both sets of fans on the edge of their seats.

For the second game running United conceded a soft penalty which Wright easily converted and then Bennett’s shot hit substitute Claudio Herbert who was lying on the ground and the ball finished up in the back of Sawyer’s net.

The United defence held firm with Liam Harding again outstanding but the Whites came close to stealing a dramatic equaliser deep into stoppage time, only for Brandon Mundy to miscue in front of goal before the final whistle blew to the delight and relief of the United supporters.

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