Leigh Downing`s clinical finish twelve minutes from time was enough to lift Evesham to 10th in the Evo-Stik Southern South & West division after a 1-0 Boxing Day success against neighbours Bishops Cleeve. Midfielder Downing drove in the winner past Cleeve keeper James Nortel for his seventh goal of the season after the visitor`s defence had only half-cleared Sam Adkins` corner.
Defender Jared Wilson made his first Evesham start for 13 weeks following injury, local lad Will Gayton a recent signing from the Villagers started for the first time while leading scorer Marcus Palmer who was suffering from flu was preferred on the substitutes bench.
On a difficult surface clearcut chances were hard to come by at both ends of the park. The best move of the first half resulted in Dwayne Spence pulling his shot wide after United`s James Blake had created the opening with a surging run down the right.
With skipper Matt Sysum and Jamal Clarke dominant at the heart of the Evesham defence, Bishops Cleeve failed to register a shot on target and it was United who continued to dominate possession after the interval. Gayton and Leon Kandekore both tested Nortel and then the stopper safely gathered Sysum`s header beneath his crossbar. The breakthrough, however, finally arrived on 78 minutes when Downing gave Nortel no chance with a crisply struck finish. Palmer looked sharp after coming on for the hardworking Kandekore and twice his pace could have resulted in further goals for the Robins before the end.
Cross, Wilson, Hyde, Sysum, Clarke, Blake, Downing, Adkins, Spence, Kandekore (Palmer 76), Gayton
Subs not used : Turner, Hutchcox, Hardwick and Goddard.
Referee: Mr S.Wales (Tewkesbury)
Match Sponsors: Stuart & Kay Reeves
Match Ball Sponsor: Keith Hunt