Two goals by leading scorer Lance Smith failed to prevent Evesham United going down to a narrow 3-2 defeat at play-off hopefuls Mangotsfield United in the Calor League Division One South & West.
The former Badsey Rangers striker struck twice in the second-half to take his tally to ten for the season, in one of only four matches played in the division that beat the wet weather.
A gale force wind blowing down the ground made it a game of two halves and with the elements in their favour Mangotsfield took full advantage to hold a comfortable two-goal lead at the break. Ryan Bath, courtesy of a deflection opened the scoring on 12 minutes converting Neil Arndale`s cross at the near post. The second goal in the 39th minute saw the unfortunate Linden Dovey turn the ball into his own net in attempting to clear another Arndale cross.
An injury to referee Lee Sheridan leading up to half-time resulted in the second-half commencing twelve minutes late while a replacement official was found in the crowd. Once the match resumed it was Evesham that went on to dominate the rest of the game. First Neil Barnfield blazed over from ten yards and then Dovey was just off target after getting on the end of Richard Mansell`s free-kick. The Mangotsfield defence was finally breached just past the hour mark when the impressive Smith got clear and hit a low drive beyond `Field keeper Kevin Sawyer.
United`s joy was short-lived when moments later Lewis Powell restored the home side`s two-goal advantage with a simple tap-in from close range. Play soon returned to the other end with Evesham having a couple of penalty shouts turned down in quick succession for challenges on Marcus Palmer and Elliot Kennedy. Eight minutes from time good work down the right by Michael Tambling ended with Smith keeping his cool before stroking in his second goal of the game. Desperate defending by Mangotsfield prevented the Robins a deserved equaliser, Smith went closest in stoppage-time when his drive flew past a post with Sawyer rooted to his line.
Bateman, Wilson, Wellon, Barnfield (Vercesi 73), Dovey, Watkin, Williams (Tambling 73), Davis (Kennedy 60), Smith, Palmer, Mansell.
SUBS NOT USED: Barnfather and Brown.
REFEREE: Mr L.Sheridan (Gloucester)