Lance Smith salvaged a point for Evesham United with a 94th minute equaliser against Godalming Town in the Calor League South & West. United looked to be heading for a disappointing defeat until the former Badsey Rangers striker headed home Elliot Kennedy`s cross to earn the Robins a draw and at the same time claim his 14th goal of the season.

Without the services of three regulars Nathan Jackson, skipper Richard Mansell and Carl Brown through suspension, Evesham struggled to stamp their authority on the game and looked a pale shadow of the side that had trounced play-off contenders North Leigh 4-0 in midweek. A swirling wind and bobbly surface made life difficult for both sides who were guilty of surrendering possession and constantly gave the ball away.

United applied the early pressure resulting in Ben Evans firing a couple of volley`s over and Smith having a `goal` disallowed for a foul on G`s skipper Gavin Miller. But with the wind in their favour, Godalming went on to have the better of the first-half. Mark Watkins cut in from the right only to fire into the side netting and then the same player was denied by keeper Louie Barnfather who bravely blocked at the frontman`s feet when he was about to pull the trigger.

With the game approaching the half-hour mark, poor marking at the back allowed Graeme Purdy time and space to find Watkins who sidefooted home to put the visitors 1-0 ahead. Evesham continued to missplace passes and Watkins should have added a second from Jamie Broome`s free-kick but headed over with only Barnfather in his sights.

Smith: Late Equaliser

Smith: Late Equaliser

With the elements behind them, there was a marked improvement in Evesham`s second-half performance forcing Godalming to defend for long periods. The hardworking Smith was foiled by keeper Zaki Oualha and Jamie Sauntson headed narrowly wide from Jared Wilson`s flag-kick. James Vercesi made an impact after coming on as a replacement for Linden Dovey and had one goalbound shot blocked and another gathered by Oualha. Play continued to be confined in the Godalming half but despite a series of half-chances United were unable to find the back of Oualha`s net and looked on course for their 8th home defeat of the season. However, with four minutes of stoppage-time played, Kennedy`s pace took him to the byeline before crossing to Smith who outjumped the Godalming defence to head in a dramatic last-gasp equaliser.

United head to Kayte Lane on Friday evening for a local derby with neighbours Bishops Cleeve in the Calor League Division One South & West (7-45pm).

Barnfather, Tambling, Bowen, Wilson, Wellon, Sauntson, Evans (Palmer 88), J.Smith (Kennedy 60), L.Smith, Dovey (Vercesi 68), Powell.
SUB NOT USED: Hitchman

REFEREE: Mr S.Gudger (Kidderminster)


Pictures by Stuart Purfield



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