EVESHAM United defied the windy conditions to sink Fleet Town 4-0, boost their play-off hopes and provide a fitting tribute to long-serving junior co-ordinator Dave Giles who died last month.
Saturday’s match and, indeed, entire weekend, was declared a celebration of the life of ‘Gilo’, described as the heart and soul of the club’s youth section and an inspiration to young and old connected with the Robins.
Steve Davies’ first half brace and second half goals from Kane Simpson and Adam Page sealed a routine win over the relegation-threatened visitors and left Evesham fifth – in the final Southern League Division One South play-off place – two points above sixth-placed Winchester City who have two games in hand.
Paul Collicutt’s Evesham have a good opportunity to strengthen their challenge on Saturday when they play the first of seven remaining games at lowly Paulton Rovers.
Against a youthful Fleet side, the hosts took a 12th-minute lead when Page got down the left before sending his cross into the box which was met by Davies whose shot deceived the visiting keeper.
Kofi Halliday wasted a fine chance to equalise a minute later when he blazed over but for the remainder of the first half it was United in command as they played some neat football which was rewarded by doubling their advantage in the 35th minute when the visitors failed to deal with a looping corner and Davies converted from close range.
Evesham continued where they left off after the break and, after Fleet’s Edwin Placket tested home keeper Andy Hannah from long range, the hosts made it 3-0 on 66 minutes when Simpson picked up the ball in the Fleet half and beat three defenders before slotting the ball home to score his 16th goal in an Evesham shirt.
Page then put the icing on the cake ten minutes from time with a superb free kick which arrowed past Fleet keeper Harvey White into the top right corner of the net.
This week it was announced £553 was raised towards an important project which had been spearheaded by Dave Giles.
A club statement said: “The family of Dave Giles and Evesham United are extremely grateful for the response from everyone who attended the first team game on Saturday and the memorial on Sunday.
“The pictures people may have seen on social media tell the huge impact that Gilo had made and the number of attendees was a great reflection of this.
“Bucket collections were held at both events and, including a £50 donation from the EUFC supporters club and £50 from the club, a total of £553 was raised which will be added to the fantastic online donations already and continuing to be made to go towards building classrooms in Gambia.”
As well as coaching hundreds of Vale youngsters, volunteer Dave also spent time in Africa coaching local children.
Following his retirement as a bank manager, the Vale resident jumped at the chance to travel to Gambian capital Banjul to spend time coaching eager youngsters.
After his first visit in 2015, he returned regularly and built a relationship with a school and children, coaching four days a week for four weeks every March and November.