Robins staring the drop in the face

By Liam Moakes 17/04 Updated: 24/04 14:20

ONLY a miraculous turnaround in form can save Evesham United from relegation from the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division after a miserable Easter weekend yielded no points for Matt Clarke's side.

The Robins have now taken just one point from the last seven matches as their slide towards the drop continued with a 3-1 defeat at fellow strugglers Redditch United on Saturday before a 3-2 loss at home to already relegated Cirencester Town on Monday.

In fact, if Evesham suffer defeat at Bashley in the first of their three remaining matches tomorrow and several other results go against them then Clarke's side - four points below the safety mark - could be relegated this weekend.

Despite their awful run of form, Evesham still have a point per game average with 39 points from as many fixtures but, in a congested league table this season, it now appears this average will not suffice and United will almost certainly need at least seven points from their last three games to stand any chance of survival.

At Redditch on Saturday, the visitors were well beaten as former Aston Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie and his younger brother Stuart inspired the hosts to a derby victory which boosted their own hopes of avoiding relegation.

Redditch took a 19th minute lead when Lee Hendrie's free kick was headed into his own net by the unfortunate Lewis Tasker and the advantage was doubled 13 minutes later when young Robins keeper Dan Platt failed to hold Tesfa Robinson's hanging cross and Lee Hendrie was on hand to tuck away the loose ball.

Redditch continued to dominate in the second half and extended their lead to 3-0 on the hour mark when poor defending from Joey Halsall's corner allowed defender Jamie Grimes time and space to beat Platt at his near post.

Platt then produced a brave block on Jimmy Deabill after the towering Redditch striker muscled his way clear before Lee Osborne fired wide as the hosts chased a fourth goal.

As it was, the fourth goal of the match went Evesham's way when Henry Eze turned in Jared Wilson's cross seven minutes from time but it was nothing more than a consolation.

Things went from bad to worse two days later when already relegated Cirencester withstood a fightback from Evesham to emerge 3-2 victors at St George's Lane.

The Centurions took a 30th minute lead when Scott Griffin capitalised on a square looking back four to lift the ball over the advancing Platt and eight minutes later it was 2-0 when Aiden Bennett headed home at the back post after the United defence had failed to deal with Wayne Turk's free kick.

However, Evesham were handed a lifeline when the visitors' goalkeeper Mike Hedges failed to emerge for the restart following a knee injury and was forced to hand the gloves to substitute striker Jody Bevan.

Three minutes later it was well and truly game on when defender Tasker made it 2-1 with a fiercely struck drive and in the 53rd minute the hosts were level when Craig Wilding headed in from Tasker's corner.

Then the red mist descenced though and moments later United midfielder Neil MacKenzie was sent off for retaliation after clashing with Turk.

It took Cirencester just a few minutes to make their numerical superiority count as they bagged the winner on the hour mark when Griffin was fouled outside the box and Turk stepped up to find the bottom corner from the resulting free kick.

The Robins piled bodies forward in search of a way back in the final third of the match but they could not muster another response and were only spared a heavier defeat thanks to a superb stoppage time penalty save from Platt from Jon Else's spot kick after he had been tripped at the end of a counter-attack by Wayne Daniel.

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