TEN-MAN Evesham United dropped to eighth in the Southern League West table after being held to a 1-1 draw at fellow play-off hopefuls AFC Totton on an eventful Saturday afternoon.
The Robins did not arrive at their Southampton-based hosts until 3.30pm after their coach had broken down on the M4, meaning the kick-off was delayed until 4pm.
However, Paul Collicutt’s side seemed unperturbed by the disruption and took just 11 minutes to take the lead as midfielder Ashley Williams fired home from the edge of the area.
The visitors continued to have the better of things in the opening quarter of the match and Lewis Powell missed a decent opening to make it 2-0 when he fired over the bar.
Evesham did have the ball in the net again in the 17th minute when Paul Fahy rolled the ball home, but he and his team-mates’ celebrations were cut short by an offside flag.
Totton gradually came into the game without seriously threatening an equaliser, but the game took a turn for the worse from a United perspective on 27 minutes when Williams – already on a yellow card – rather stupidly clashed with Tony Lee close to the home dugout and the referee issued a second booking to Williams, leaving the visitors a man down with more than an hour to play.
Buoyed by the incident, Totton pressed and Toby Adekunle headed over before Alfy Whittingham’s deflected strike brought a smart save out of Kevin Sawyer.
Shortly before the interval Totton were rewarded when Jack Masterton curled a fine free kick over the wall and inside the right-hand post and it could have been worse for Evesham just moments later, but Craig Feeney fired wastefully into the side-netting.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Evesham remained just as likely to take maximum points as their hosts in a second half which was quieter in terms of goalmouth action.
On the hour mark, a cross from the left found its way to Fahy at the far post but the midfielder curled his left-footed effort well wide having shown good initial composure on the ball.
Soon afterwards Sawyer made decent stops to keep out efforts from Feeney and Lee, before Evesham substitute James Campbell forced Shane Murphy into a late save, but defences were well on top and the sides had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Evesham are back on the road again on Saturday when they visit fourth placed Winchester City, who are a point ahead of the Robins.