Lance Smith ended Taunton`s 15-match unbeaten run with a second half goal to earn ten-man Evesham a crucial three points in the Ev0-Stik Southern South & West Division. The Evesham-based striker struck in the 72nd minute to score his 14th goal of the season and gain revenge for a 3-0 drubbing handed out by the Peacocks earlier in the season. It was a tremendous effort from the Robins who played over 50 minutes with ten men after midfielder Sean Wood was sent-off for two yellow cards late in the first half.
United boss Paul Collicutt couldn`t hide his delight afterwards saying, ” It was a big result for us and keeps our season alive. Everybody put in a big shift and we deserved the win, there was no fluke about the result. A lot of sides would have folded going a man down against a team in the play-offs but we actually got stronger and looked the better side. We have 12 games left and will be trying our hardest to win them all.”
United came out of the blocks quickest and carved out a couple of opening opportunites as Matt Sysum fired over and Taunton keeper Lloyd Irish did well to hold Wood`s driven free kick. The home side responded when Jamie Price headed over from inside the six-yard box and then Taunton`s celebrations were cut short when Rob Farkins` header was disallowed for offside. The Red and Whites then suffered a massive blow when Wood got his marching orders seven minutes before half-time leaving United a mountain to climb in the second half.
The game opened up after the break with Taunton sensing victory with the man advantage and Jordan Rogers went close on a couple of occasions leading up to the hour mark. The action quickly switched to the opposite end with Adam Mann and Nick Stanley both fizzing shots wide with Irish beaten. Rogers then had a `goal` chalked off for offside before United stunned the home crowd by scoring the only goal of the game eighteen minutes from time. Smith who worked his socks off all afternoon, danced around a cluster of Town defenders as he worked his way into the box before rounding Irish and firing home to spark wild celebrations by the United supporters behind the goal.
A late flurry of Taunton pressure was dealt with by the United backline and came to nothing, indeed the best chance before the end fell to Mann but United`s leading scorer pulled his shot wide with only Irish to beat. It`s three clean sheets in a row and just two defeats in 17 for United who sit in 8th place level with Tiverton Town on 51 points.
Sawyer, Dovey, Stanley (Wilson 65), Wood, Sysum, Wellon, Brown, Williams, Mann, Smith (Modest 90), Green.
Subs not used: Fishwick, Binns
Referee: Mr S.Knapp (Bristol)