EVESHAM United earned a crucial 3-0 victory at mid-table Kidlington on Tuesday to return into the Southern League West play-off places with four matches remaining.
Goals from Adam Mann, Garyn Preen and Ewen Dunbar put the Oxfordshire side to the sword and left the Robins in the final play-off place in sixth position.
The importance of the win was clear for all to see as the table at the final whistle showed Paul Collicutt’s side now just two points behind third-placed Wimborne Town – albeit having played a game more than every side above them – yet only three points above Cirencester Town in eighth.
United, who were edged out 1-0 by Joshua Nelmes’ eighth-minute goal at champions Taunton Town on Saturday, now have to ensure they see off rock-bottom local rivals Bishops Cleeve at the Jubilee Stadium on Saturday to keep their play-off hopes on track before visiting lowly Shortwood United next Thursday.
On a damp but perfectly playable pitch, United slowly but surely stamped their authority on proceedings and took a 37th-minute lead when Mann fired a thumping 25-yard strike into the bottom right corner.
Having failed to muster a shot on target in the first half, the hosts were improved in the second period but wasted a chance to level soon after the restart when Anaclet Odhiambo took too much time ten yards from goal and eventually saw his shot cleared off the line by Matt Liddiard.
On 53 visitors the home side handed Evesham a two-goal cushion when Ben Brown woefully under-hit his back pass and Preen needed no second invitation to steal possession and round the home stopper before converting into an empty net.
Lewis Gabbidon correctly saw a 67th-minute effort ruled out for offside and that proved to be Kidlington’s last meaningful effort on goal before another defensive lapse allowed substitute Dunbar a free run at goal and the youngster finished neatly from the edge of the box.