24.3.12 Oxford City 2 vs 0 Evesham United

MANAGER Matt Clarke has six games left to turn Evesham United’s fortunes around or face playing Evo-Stick Southern League South and West football next season.

United’s 2-0 defeat at Oxford City’s Court Place Farm Stadium was their fourth in a row with the Robins only scoring once in 360 minutes of action.

Defender Henry Eze returned after a three match ban and latest signing John Griffin partnered Craig Wilding up front following Marcus Palmer’s surprise mid-week move to rivals Stourbridge.

Oxford adapted better to the bone-hard pitch, pressing United back from the start. Twice in the opening quarter, the tricky Kynan Issac created openings for himself but failed to find the target.

Evesham’s first effort on goal arrived on the halfhour mark with Griffin dragging his shot wide after escaping his marker on the edge of the box.

But it took an element of good fortune for the hosts to take the lead on 36 minutes when United defender Callum Henry put Steve Basham’s cross into his own net.

Luck was not on United’s side just before the interval when City’s Chris Wilmott headed against his own crossbar in attempting to clear Griffin’s cross.

Eze lined up in midfield for the second-half and United looked more purposeful. He got on the end of Jared Wilson’s cross but directed his header wide then set up Griffin who fired against the legs of advancing keeper Jason Mooney.

A lack of concentration at the back, however, led to Oxford’s second goal in the 57th minute.  The United defence failed to pick up substitute Michael Lyon, who ghosted in at the back post for a simple tap-in.

Evesham worked hard to get back into the game and Griffin again went close, having his drive deflected behind with Mooney beaten.

Evesham: Platt, Winter (Wilson 21), Eze, Daniel, Henry, McPike, Ardalany (Male 62), MacKenzie (Quaynor 45), Wilding, Griffin, Tasker. Subs not used: Clarke, Connor.

Attendance: 165.