Victory keeps United's slim survival hopes alive

By Liam Moakes 24/04 Updated: 24/04 16:51

EVESHAM United turned the formbook on its head to defeat play-off hopefuls Cambridge City 2-1 at St George's Lane on Saturday and maintain their slim hopes of avoiding the drop from the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division.

However, despite this result making it four points from the last two matches, the odds remain heavily stacked against Matt Clarke's side staying up as they remain reliant on favours elsewhere in tomorrow's final round of fixtures.

Hemel Hempstead's 2-0 home win over Oxford City on Monday means Evesham sit a point behind them, as well as three adrift of Arlesey Town and with an inferior goal difference of five to the latter.

All of this means the Robins must win at Barwell, hope Hemel Hempstead do not win at Bashley and require Arlesey to lose at Chippenham Town - whilst also gaining the required swing in goal difference across the matches - to escape finishing in the bottom four.

If Evesham are relegated, they can at least take some positives from the fact they produced one of their most impressive performances under Clarke's leadership to end their six-year tenure at St George's Lane with victory ahead of the move to their new Cheltenham Road home.

A first victory in ten matches was fully deserved as the hosts dominated the match from the outset and three times in the opening 15 minutes they came close to scoring as Henry Eze and Roland Agbor were off target and then Ben Pugh had his effort cleared off the line by Pat Bexfield.

Despite Evesham doing all of the pressing, it was Cambridge who opened the scoring in the 36th minute when they broke and a mix-up at the back resulted in Craig Wilding bringing down Lee Clift in the box and City's leading scorer Craig Hammond made no mistake from the spot.

United needed a quick response and got it within two minutes courtesy of captain Wayne Daniel as the Supporters' Player of the Season rose unchallenged to head home Neil MacKenzie's pinpoint free kick at the back post.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first as Evesham called the tune and went close through Wilding's header and Lewis Tasker's drive.

United's persistence finally paid off with the winning goal 20 minutes from time when Agbor collected the ball out wide before cutting inside and curling a delightful shot past visiting keeper Zac Barrett.

The hosts were then denied a chance to improve their goal difference when Pugh was brought down from behind in the 81st minute by Dave Theobald when clean through and the City player was dismissed for a professional foul.

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