Evesham United remain on course for a play-off spot in Evo-Stik Southern League Division One South and West thanks to Matt Sysum’s first-half goal against a dogged Mangotsfield side. The Robins skipper, playing against his former club, got on the end of Sean Wood’s free-kick a minute before the break for the game’s only goal to extend United’s unbeaten run to 12 games.
Battling Mangotsfield proved difficult opposition to break down and, like most sides visiting the Jubilee Stadium this season, relied on the counter attack as their main threat. The first meaningful shot at goal fell to Evesham’s Marcus Jackson, whose first-time effort was superbly turned behind by visiting keeper Joe Perry.
United dominated possession and were in the ascendancy for the rest of the half but a packed Mangotsfield defence denied Paul Collicutt’s side a clear chance to take the lead. Wood went closest with a fierce drive that thumped against the crossbar before eventually being cleared. But, with 60 seconds to go before half-time, United deservedly made the breakthrough via Sysum’s well-directed header for his eighth goal of the season.
In an attempt to get something out of the game, Mangotsfield were more adventurous in the second-half and missed a good opportunity to equalise when Steve Davies blazed over when well-placed. On-loan Gloucester striker Adam Mann responded for the hosts, forcing Perry to make a flying save, and then headed wide of the target after good work down the left by George Washbourne.
The visitors then went on to enjoy their best spell of the game and forced a number of corners without seriously troubling Kevin Sawyer in the Evesham goal. Enforced substitutions resulted in United losing some of their shape but, despite pressing for a late leveller, Mangotsfield failed to capitalise.
The hard-earned victory was sweet revenge for defeat suffered at Cossham Street earlier in the season.
Evesham United: Sawyer, Wood, Wellon, Harding (Wilson 56), Sysum, Dovey, Jackson, Stanley, Edenborough (Smith 82), Mann, Washbourne (Knowles 75).
Sub not used: Brown.
View the 46 photos of the game below from club photographer Stuart Purfield