The game started quietly on a pitch which had again been subject to intense treatment in the hours before kick-off to remove excess water following yet more rain. There was no threat on goal until the eighth minute when Taunton took the lead. Shane White swung in a corner from the left and Josh Nelmes connected at the far post to steer the ball over the line. Dan Sullivan then cut inside to shoot but his effort failed to extend Evesham keeper Kevin Sawyer who was presented with a bottle of champagne by the club after the game to mark his retirement at the end of the season.
Evesham barely raised a whimper in the opening 20 minutes until Lloyd Irish made a clean catch to hold Linden Dovey’s curling effort from 15 yards, set up by a jinking run from Joe Turley. Irish also comfortably gathered Carl Brown’s ground shot as efforts from both teams tended to lack accuracy and venom. Matt Wright chested down Ollie Chamberlain’s floated cross into the path of Sullivan whose rising left footed volley just cleared the bar while Sullivan also fired another strike over after good work from Wright. Town’s best attempt came after a move involving Sullivan and Chamberlain who released Nuno Felix on the left but his drive was touched over by Sawyer.
For all their tidy football, the visitors weren’t really hurting Town in the final third, with Adam Mann launching a cross-shot over after an impressive build-up and Garyn Preen slicing well over. While there was only one goal in it though, there could be no room for error. Town emerged somewhat slowly after the break, Preen blasting two more efforts off-target, before Ryan Brett responded for the Peacocks, making space to drill a shot narrowly over while Sullivan struck another effort straight at Sawyer.
Substitute Craig Veal was soon in the action, poking Brett’s corner onto Wright who turned smartly to drive a half-volley inches over. Evesham’s clearest opportunity came soon after, Adam Mann’s free kick hitting the wall and falling for Brown to find the side netting from an angle.
Further pressing from Evesham saw Mann play in Brown but Keith Emmerson’s block ensured the shot had the sting taken out of it for Irish to collect while White’s timely tackle denied Ebbutt the chance to break through. Emmerson, made a charging run upfield to pick out Sullivan but a poor pass saw the opening disappear before the Town centre half carried on playing after managing to slot his dislocated shoulder back into place.
The latter stages saw Town nearly capitalise on Evesham pushing up. White’s cross caught Veal by surprise and came off his toe direct to Sawyer and substitute Les Afful latched onto Wright’s pass to chip over the stranded Sawyer, only for Andy Lewis to boot off the line. Wright then flicked onto Veal and although his strike from the left side of the box lacked power, it evaded the dive of Sawyer and struck the base of the post.
By Andy Power, Taunton Town website
Evesham: Kevin Sawyer, Linden Dovey (captain), Will Wellon (Matt Bennett 74), Joe Turley, Andy Lewis, Matt Liddiard, Nick Hancock (Cameron Ebbutt 68), Ashley Williams, Carl Brown (Olly Mehew 74), Adam Mann, Garyn Preen.
Unused sub: Ewan Dunbar