EVESHAM United’s Southern League Division One South & West play-off hopes are over despite a 1-0 home win over North Leigh on Saturday.
Winchester City earned a 1-1 draw at Slimbridge on Wednesday to end the Robins’ hopes of a top five finish, leaving Paul Collicutt’s side four points adrift with just Saturday’s trip to Marlow to come.
However, like last season, having ended the season in fine form including ten wins in the final 12 matches, Evesham supporters should feel confident their side will be able to mount another promotion push in 2016/17.
Evesham, no doubt rueing their 2-1 defeat at Bishops Cleeve last midweek, produced a disciplined display to see off North Leigh at the Jubilee Stadium thanks to Karnell Chambers’ 19th minute goal.
United boss Collicutt said afterwards: “I was looking for a reaction after the Bishops Cleeve result and I was pleased with the positive response.
“Our work ethic and desire was there and we played some good football going forward.
“I was chuffed for young Karnell who scored his first goal for us. He’s still learning and looks an exciting prospect.”
Heavy overnight rain and early morning snow forced a midday inspection but, thanks to the hard work of the United groundstaff, the game was given the green light.
The visitors made a bright start as leading scorer Jamie Cook tried his luck from distance and United’s Matt Sysum made an important last-ditch tackle on Callum McNish to snuff out the danger.
At the other end Carl Brown’s header went close after neat skills by Clayton Green before what turned out to be the winning goal arrived on 19 minutes.
Chambers made ground down the right and showed great desire to get into the box before firing past James Foster into the far corner.
The goal boosted United who moments later went close to adding a second but Foster made a superb reflex save at his near post to deny the hardworking Ashley Williams.
The second half continued with United doing the pressing and probing but the Millers always looked sprightly on the break and Sam Elkins tested Kevin Sawyer, who produced a wonderful save to keep United’s lead intact.
The experienced stopper then got a fingertip to McNish’s drive as North Leigh enjoyed their best period of the game.
Back came United as Green headed wide and leading scorer Adam Mann went close to adding to his 31 goals this season.
After this United shut up shop and North Leigh created little, but in injury time the hosts breathed a sigh of relief when Cook’s header beat Sawyer but came back off a post before being cleared.