Evesham United 1 Redditch United 0
FA Trophy first qualifying round
THE ROBINS claimed the bragging rights over county rivals Redditch United with a thoroughly deserved victory at the Spiers & Hartwell Jubilee Stadium on Saturday.
Having beaten Liam McDonald’s side – who play a division above Evesham – in last season’s FA Cup, Paul Collicutt’s Evesham once again impressed as they prevailed to bag £2,700 in prize money and book a second qualifying round tie at home to Spennymoor Town on November 14.
Nick Stanley’s superb strike 20 minutes from time was enough to separate the sides and extend Evesham’s winning run in all competitions to three matches.
Redditch arrived at the Jubilee Stadium sitting pretty in third place in the Southern League Premier Division and, fresh from a 1-0 success at many people’s title favourites Leamington, went into the game as favourites, but Evesham had other ideas.
With eight goals and six points to their name from their last two Division One South & West outings, they were looking to cause an upset and did so in style.
Loanee Louis McGrory was refused permission to play by Forest Green Rovers so Sean Wood came into the hosts’ midfield in the only change to the side that battered Mangotsfield United 4-1 the previous midweek.
The first half was low key with defences on top and most of the play confined to midfield.
Matt Sysum did send an early header over for the hosts and good moves down the left involving Clayton Green and Stanley ended with Ashley Williams and Lance Smith pulling shots wide.
The visitors’ best spell arrived midway through when the lively front pairing of Luke Shearer and leading scorer Danny Dubidat both dragged the ball wide of a post when handily placed, but it was no surprise the half finished goalless as goalkeepers at both ends had little to do.
Redditch won a free kick early in the second half and Dubidat’s curler looked to be going in, but Evesham stopper Kevin Sawyer produced a top drawer save to push the ball behind for a fruitless corner.
After this the rest of the tie belonged to Evesham. Sawyer’s huge clearance ended with Jose Veiga saving low down from Smith and then Liam Harding’s deflected header looped agonisingly over.
However, the Robins were not to be denied an impressive victory thanks to Stanley’s winning goal in the 70th minute which arrived when Wood’s flag kick on the right was not properly cleared, leaving the talented Stanley to pounce on the edge of the box and beat Veiga with an unstoppable drive into the roof of the net.
Surprisingly, an expected Redditch onslaught in search of an equaliser never materialised as McDonald’s side created no meaningful openings and it was Evesham who continued to play with a swagger in the autumn sunshine.
Smith unleashed a shot that was saved and shortly afterwards the frontman was unable to get a touch in front of goal after Linden Dovey’s superb run and cross.
Despite more than six minutes of stoppage time, there were no further alarms for the Red & Whites who will continue their Trophy run against Durham-based Northern Premier League Division One North outfit Spennymoor Town a week on Saturday.
Before that, the Robins will look to move closer to the play-off zone with a good league result against hosts North Leigh on Saturday, but it will be a tall order against the Oxfordshire side who sit second in the table.