EVESHAM United were not at their prolific best but did enough to overcome struggling Fleet Town 2-0 at the Jubilee Stadium on Saturday.
A goal in each half moved the third placed Robins to within two points of second placed Taunton Town, although the Somerset side restored their five-point advantage over Paul Collicutt’s side with a 4-1 success at Cinderford Town on Tuesday.
In a dour but comfortable win at a blustery Jubilee Stadium, striker Adam Mann took his goal tally into double figures with United’s opener and it was left to substitute Kevin Slack to seal the Robins’ win with a second goal a minute from time.
As far as Evesham were concerned, it was a case of getting the job done with a win rather than the performance at this stage of the campaign as Collicutt’s men huffed and puffed to put away a poor Fleet side who have not won an away league game all season.
Despite kicking against a strong wind in the first half, United were always in control but were let down by some wayward finishing.
In the first minute visiting keeper Ryan Price was left clutching thin air as Carl Brown volleyed just wide and then Price denied Brown with an outstretched leg after the United midfielder had wriggled free inside the box.
George Washbourne then fired across the face of goal with no colleague on hand at the back post before the deadlock was eventually broken in the 29th minute. Ashley Edenborough did the donkey work with his persistence down the left before finding Mann in the six-yard box and the latter coolly found the roof of the net.
The rest of the first half action saw Edenborough blaze over when well placed and Price make a smart save to hold Jared Wilson’s snap-shot.
With the wind behind them, United dominated possession and spent much of the second period in the Fleet half, but some dogged defending by the Blues and a series of near misses saw Evesham fail to kill the game off.
Price saved a couple of Washbourne efforts and held strikes by Brown, Edenborough and Mann and, when the stopper was beaten, Liam Harding smashed a shot against the crossbar and over.
In a rare Fleet attack, Kevin Sawyer had to be alert at the other end to push aside Craig Davis’ free kick which was heading for the bottom corner, before United finally made the game safe with a priceless second goal in the 89th minute.
Following a foul on the right, Mann worked his way into the box before unselfishly picking out the unmarked Slack who swept in a tidy finish beyond the diving Price to clinch a ninth league win for the Robins this season in front of the home faithful.
Evesham face an intriguing test on Saturday when they host a Taunton side in what could be a clash of two sides who end up meeting in the end of season play-offs.
The visitors struggle to contain United striker Ashley Edenborough. Picture courtesy of www.stuartpurfield.co.uk. (s)
The Robins’ Carl Brown in tigerish mood in midfield. Picture courtesy of www.stuartpurfield.co.uk. (s)
Adam Mann fends off his opponent. Picture courtesy of www.stuartpurfield.co.uk. (s)