Evesham United manager Paul Collicutt made a winning return to his former club Bishops Cleeve on Friday evening courtesy of two goals by leading scorer Lance Smith in the Calor League South & West. Collicutt who spent 12 years in charge at Kayte Lane overseeing two promotions saw his side hit back from being a goal down at half-time to beat the Villagers in front of their biggest crowd of the season.
The Gloucestershire side who had claimed some notable scalps at home with the likes of Shortwood, Tiverton, Mangotsfield and most recently league leaders Merthyr Town all leaving empty-handed, started the brighter and stunned the large contingent of Evesham supporters by taking a 7th minute lead. The ball was worked across goal to Jacob Morgan and he beat Louie Barnfather with a low drive into the bottom corner.
Evesham responded positively, Smith forced Harvey Rivers into making a couple of smart saves and then the same player unselfishly set-up Adam Powell who fired over with Rivers beaten. Linden Dovey had the ball in the Cleeve net before the interval but had his crisp finish disallowed for offside.
Smith who was a constant threat all night, worked an opening for himself on the hour but blazed high and wide with only Rivers in his path. It took a period of pressure, however, before United deservedly levelled on 68 minutes. Smith got a touch to Powell`s free-kick which Rivers got a hand on but couldn`t prevent the ball from entering the net. Evesham remained on the front foot to the end and sealed victory with fifteen minutes to go. Ben Evans` corner found Smith in a crowded goalmouth and the Evesham striker tucked away his 16th goal on the campaign.
In stoppage-time United substitute Elliot Kennedy went close to adding a third but pulled his shot wide after using a turn of speed to race clear of the overworked Cleeve defence.
United return to the Jubilee Stadium on Saturday 19th April against Paulton Rovers in the Calor League Division One South & West (3pm). Before heading to title favourites and league leaders Merthyr Town on Easter Monday (3pm).
Barnfather, Tambling, Wilson, N.Jackson (J.Smith 89), Wellon, Sauntson, Evans, Powell, L.Smith, Dovey (Kennedy 55), Bowen.
SUBS NOT USED: Hitchman and Palmer.
REFEREE: Mr Mark Howes (Solihull)