SATURDAY’S visit of fellow promotion hopefuls Winchester City has taken on paramount importance for Evesham United who have slipped out of the Southern League West play-off zone after successive defeats.
The controversial 2-1 home loss to Salisbury was followed by a 2-0 defeat at Swindon Supermarine on Saturday. The hosts’ win leapfrogged them over United and Paul Collicutt’s men are now seventh – outside the top six on goal difference having played more games than most of the sides around them.
However, with eight matches remaining, there is still all to play for, particularly as third-placed AFC Totton are just two points above Evesham having also played 34 games.
Evesham could have little complaint with the outcome of Saturday’s match in which they fell behind in the sixth minute when Michael Hopkins crossed from the left for Joe Selman who controlled the ball neatly before firing past Kevin Sawyer at the far post.
Brad Hooper spurned a golden opportunity to make it 2-0 soon afterwards and there was another home chance when Sawyer miscued a clearance but Lee Marshall could not find the empty net from 30 yards with the stopper stranded.
Evesham gradually began to get a foothold in the game and Joe Turley curled narrowly over the bar from 20 yards before Garyn Preen fired wide soon afterwards.
However, it was Swindon who looked the more composed side and they duly doubled their advantage in the 44th minute when Selman won possession before searing past Will Wellon and cutting the ball back to Hooper who this time made no mistake from close range.
With the wind at their backs at the start of the second half, United pushed to cut their arrears but the closest they came was when Adam Mann’s free kick was comfortably saved and Matt Liddiard fired narrowly wide.
The game then petered out to an uneventful conclusion, leaving the Robins with plenty to prove when they return to action at the Jubilee Stadium this weekend.