County rivals set for relegation six-pointer

By Liam Moakes 03/04 Updated: 10/04 12:32

EVESHAM UNITED travel across Worcestershire tomorrow to face county rivals Redditch United in what looks set to be a pivotal match in the race to secure Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division survival.

The Robins halted a four-match losing streak on Saturday as they earned a 0-0 draw at home to Bedford Town, but it was a fourth successive match without a goal for Matt Clarke's side and they sit fourth from bottom - with four teams to be relegated - a place and two points behind tomorrow's hosts.

The match at the Valley Stadium will see Evesham, who defeated Redditch 1-0 at St George's Lane on New Year's Eve, come up against former Aston Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie after the 34-year-old joined the Reds on a non-contract basis from Kidderminster Harriers last week.

It looks sure to prove a tense occasion as two sides who have found goals hard to come by all season do battle, with each having just four matches left afterwards.

Evesham can at least take solace from the fact they avoided defeat at the weekend in a match which saw Callum Henry make his final appearance before returning to Blue Square Bet Premier outfit Forest Green Rovers and Simon Fitter return to take a place in the United midfield.

Roland Agbor was named on the bench at the start of his second spell at the club having transferred from Redditch.

However, it was the visitors who made the better start and straight from the kick-off they wasted a chance to take the lead when the division's leading scorer Drew Roberts failed to add to his tally of 32 by firing wide with only home keeper Dan Platt to beat.

Evesham enjoyed their best spell of the half midway through the opening period when Eagles stopper Ian Brown saved well low down from John Griffin and then the same player saw his shot deflected wide following good work by Henry Eze.

Platt came to Evesham's rescue leading up to the break when he bravely denied Roberts with an excellent block.

The visitors were rocked early in the second half when Brown was forced to leave the action with an ankle injury and was replaced between the sticks by centre back Josh Beech.

However, Evesham were unable to take advantage as opportunities dried up as play was confined to midfield.

The best chance fell Bedford's way in the final quarter when the dangerous Roberts side-stepped a couple of challenges, only to be denied by youngster Platt who saved bravely once again at the striker's feet.

In stoppage time Roberts clashed with Eze and was shown a straight red card for violent conduct, but it was too late to effect the outcome and United had to settle for a solitary point.

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