GEORGE Washbourne’s first half goal was enough for Evesham United to spring an upset and secure a 1-0 victory over county rivals Redditch United in Monday’s FA Cup first qualifying round replay at the Valley Stadium.
Midfielder Washbourne returned to haunt his old club as Liam McDonald’s Southern League Premier Division outfit were beaten by the Robins – who play a tier below Redditch – following Saturday’s goalless draw in the first tie at the Jubilee Stadium.
Evesham now face another Southern League Premier Division side in the second qualifying round on Saturday, September 27 when they travel to Histon, who are second from bottom of the table after failing to win any of their nine league games this season.
Redditch, who went into Monday’s replay as firm favourites, were lucky not to fall behind after just eight minutes.
The hardworking Lance Smith burst into the box only to be hauled down by home keeper Brad Catlow, but the Reds keeper made amends by superby saving Jared Wilson’s penalty kick.
The miss did not deter Paul Collicutt’s men who went on to score what turned out to be the winning goal on 22 minutes. A good build-up down the left ended with Washbourne slicing through the Redditch defence before planting a low drive past Catlow.
With skipper Matt Sysum and Linden Dovey outstanding at the heart of Evesham’s defence, the dangerous Redditch strikeforce of Jermaine Hylton and Jamie Molyneux were rarely given a look-in.
The second half followed a similiar pattern with Evesham well worth their lead and looking dangerous on the break.
Indeed, Smith went close to adding a second for the visitors on the hour when he touched Sean Wood’s corner kick just wide at the near post.
As the game entered its final quarter, Redditch pressed for an equaliser, but due to excellent defending by Sysum and company they failed to create a clearcut chance.
A succession of corners by the Reds came to nothing and, apart from Ashley Sammons’ free kick that was safely gathered by the reliable Kevin Sawyer at his near post, Evesham saw out the remainder of the game for a memorable victory, much to the delight of their band of supporters.
On Saturday it had been a much more purposeful performance from Redditch who bossed the first half and signalled their intentions straight from the kick-off when the dangerous Hylton thumped a shot against a post inside the opening couple of minutes.
Sammons was then a whisker away from firing the Reds ahead, but Evesham weathered the storm as the half wore on and went close themselves through skipper Sysum’s header from Wood’s free kick after visiting keeper Catlow had failed to reach the midfielder’s dead-ball kick.
Molyneux, who was another threat going forward for Redditch, pulled his shot across the face of goal with half time approaching, but no colleague was on hand to turn the ball home.
The second half was a more even affair with Evesham matching their opponents. A combination of Sysum and Wilson did enough between them to deny Hylton with a last-ditch block when the striker was about to pull the trigger, then at the opposite end Catlow pushed aside Smith’s drive, only for Washbourne to fire the loose ball into the side-netting.
Robins keeper Sawyer made flying saves from George Carline and Sammons but in the closing stages Evesham went close to grabbing a late winner when substitute Carl Brown had his shot blocked on the line by Joel Caines before Redditch cleared the danger and the contest finished all square.
Evesham return to Southern League Division One South & West action on Saturday at home to North Leigh, whilst Redditch will aim to bounce back when they travel to Hitchin Town on the same day for their next league encounter.
Marcus Mingins captured the action from Saturday’s game at the Jubilee Stadium.
Redditch’s Calum Flanagan and Evesham’s Ashley Edenborough battle for possession on Saturday. All photos by Marcus Mingins. 3814015MMR1.
Redditch’s Simeon Maye and Evesham’s Elliot Kennedy get stuck in. Photo 3814015MMR2.
Dan Scarr of Redditch and Evesham’s Lance Smith have their eyes on the ball. Photo 3814015MMR3.
Redditch keeper Brad Catlow shows a safe pair of hands. Photo by Marcus Mingins. 3814015MMR4.
Elliot Kennedy of Evesham looks to pip Redditch’s Max Loveridge to the ball. Photo 3814015MMR5.