Merthyr Town needed a second-half goal by Ian Traylor to keep their Calor League South & West title hopes alive against a determined Evesham side who were unlucky to leave The Cigg-e-Stadium empty handed on Easter Monday. Evesham gave the Welshmen some anxious moments in front of the Martyr`s biggest crowd of the season before Traylor settled the game to keep Merthyr`s unbeaten home league record intact for the season.
United made an energetic start and could have been two-up inside the opening quarter-of-an-hour. Lance Smith who was again Evesham`s most dangerous player had his shot smothered by Lee Idzi after the Town stopper had got a hand to Jared Wilson`s firmly struck free-kick and then Smith arriving at the back post brushed the woodwork following Wilson`s pin-point corner. Merthyr who went into the game needing nothing less than a victory to have a chance of finishing top, looked a frustrated unit and uneasy as Evesham continued to look the better side. The woodwork then prevented Carl Brown from giving United a shock lead when his cross-cum-shot deceived Idzi and smacked against the crossbar before being cleared. Merthyr finally came out of their shell during the latter stages of the first period when Kayne McLaggon`s deadball strike had Louie Barnfather going full stretch to make a flying save.
Barnfather was then called upon to make another important save from Traylor at the start of the second-half and at the other end, Nathan Jackson found the back of Idzi`s net only to have the `goal` disallowed for a foul on the Merthyr keeper. But on 59 minutes, Merthyr broke away to score the game`s only goal when the lively Traylor got on the end of Gavin Williams` left-wing cross to glance in a header past the diving Barnfather. Immediately after coming on, substitute Ryan Prosser powered a header goalwards that Barnfather did very well to keep out and McLaggon curled an effort wide as the home side ventured forward in search of a deciding second goal. It never arrived and despite late Evesham pressure, Merthyr held firm to take their Championship hopes into the final weekend of the season.
Barnfather, Tambling, Mansell, Wilson, Wellon, Sauntson, Brown, Powell (Bowen 56), L. Smith, Kennedy, N. Jackson (Evans 70).
SUBS NOT USED: Hitchman, Palmer.
REFEREE: S.Piret (Oxford)