United on the verge of relegation

By Liam Moakes 18/04 Updated: 24/04 14:20

EVESHAM UNITED must beat Cambridge City at St George's Lane tomorrow to have any chance of maintaining their four-year tenure in the Southern League Premier Division.

The Robins missed a golden chance to give their fight for survival a shot in the arm on Saturday as they were held to a 0-0 draw at Bashley despite the hosts having to play with ten men for 50 minutes following the dismissal of Dan Strugnell, who was received a red card after being deemed the last man when he pulled down Ben Pugh as the Evesham striker bore down on goal.

Despite their numerical superiority though, Matt Clarke's side were umable to find a winner and they sit five points from safety with just two matches remaining, the first of which is tomorrow's visit of the Lilywhites, who look set to clinch a play-off place.

Even a win tomorrow may not be enough to save United depending on results elsewhere, although the likelihood is a first triumph in ten games would take the battle to the final day encounter at Barwell.

In Saturday's clash at the New Forest, both sides created and missed chances in a decent first half, the best of which saw Bash keeper Stewart Kearn touch Henry Eze's header on to the crossbar.

The hosts then suffered the dismissal of Strugnell before more drama unfolded midway through the second half when referee Matt Eva suffered an injury and was unable to continue, leading to a 17-minute delay whilst a replacement was sought.

Nobody with the required qualifications was available at the ground so, to avoid the match being abandoned, Eva completed the game by running the line and one of his assistants took over in the middle.

Evesham were then camped in the Bashley half in desperate search of a winner but could not find a way through a packed home defence as the hosts fought for the point which inched them closer to safety.

Eze twice got into good positions but failed to beat Kearn and then the keeper made brave saves to keep out efforts from Pugh and Neil MacKenzie.

When Evesham did get the ball in the net, Pugh's strike was disallowed for a push on defender Gary Middleton.

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