EVESHAM United were left wondering just how they suffered a first round Red Insure League Cup exit at the hands of higher ranked Bedworth United on Tuesday.
The much-changed Robins dominated the tie at the Oval but were beaten 2-1 as they were unable to bounce back from Saturday’s 3-0 loss at Larkhall Athletic in Southern League Division One South & West.
Striker Aaron Wint’s double had fired the Greenbacks into a 2-0 lead just past the hour mark before substitute Adam Mann pulled a goal back with 17 minutes to go.
This set up a thrilling finish which saw United batter the Bedworth goal but a series of near misses and excellent goalkeeping enabled the home side to hang on for victory by the skin of their teeth.
Evesham manager Paul Collicutt made sweeping changes and handed a debut to 19-year-old winger Jacob Sloggett and it was the visitors who set the tone for the evening when early efforts from Louis McGrory and Sloggett went close, as did Kevin Slack’s first-time volley from distance that fizzed just off target.
Sloggett then lifted his shot over when well placed after good work by Dan MacDonald and then MacDonald’s delivery was deflected on to his own post by Bedworth defender Kyle Cartwright.
Denham Hinds, who had a brief spell with United some years back, then saved at his near post from the lively Sloggett but against the run of play Wint got on the scoresheet with the opening goal with Bedworth’s first shot on target after 39 minutes.
Bedworth held their slender lead until half time but it was not long before Evesham were back on the attack in the second half.
Cartwright and fellow defender Marlon Walters both threw their bodies on the line to get in solid blocks to thwart George Washbourne and MacDonald efforts and then Linden Dovey went on a mazy run from inside his own half before firing inches wide of Hind’s left-hand upright.
However, for all Evesham’s pressure and neat football, it was the home side who broke away to score again on 64 minutes through Wint’s well placed header beyond reserve team keeper Josh Goddard.
Mann then struck for United in the 73rd minute courtesy of Hind’s miskick to roll the ball into an empty net from ten yards and this was the signal for United to throw the kitchen sink at the wilting Bedworth defence, but Hinds made amends for his error by producing some fine saves to deny the goal-hungry visitors, especially Liam Harding and McGrory efforts.
When the Bedworth stopper was beaten, Sloggett’s cross was deflected on to the crossbar and MacDonald’s sweetly struck free kick grazed the outside of a post.
The Robins’ relentless pressure continued well into stoppage time as Hinds made more top class stops to prevent Harding and Mann netting a richly deserved equaliser.
AN out of sorts Evesham crashed to their heaviest defeat of the season at last season’s play-off conquerors Larkhall on Saturday.
The hosts were no better than ordinary themselves but the Robins looked a pale shadow of the side which finished runners-up to Merthyr Town last season before eventually losing to Larkhall in the play-offs.
Twice early on MacDonald tested home keeper Kyle Phillips and then Washbourne got to the byline but no colleague was on hand to convert the winger’s low cross.
Unfortunately for the good number of United supporters that travelled to Bath that was as good as it got as Larkhall made the breakthrough after 32 minutes when livewire Dean Griffiths turned Ashley Williams inside out on the left and from his fine cross the unmarked Ollie Price headed home into the bottom corner.
United struggled to create clearcut chances but should have levelled on the stroke of half time, only for Lance Smith to get himself into a tangle with only Phillips to beat.
The next goal would be decisive and Larkhall got it five minutes after the restart when Williams dithered on the ball, allowing Jack Camm to dispossess the United midfielder before racing away and beating Kevin Sawyer.
United made changes in an attempt to freshen things up but little changed and the final nail in Evesham’s coffin duly arrived on 70 minutes when the hardworking Griffiths kept his nerve before placing his shot beneath Sawyer to put the outcome beyond doubt.
On Saturday tenth placed Evesham entertain fourth placed Taunton Town.