By Liam Moakes 24/04 Updated: 10/05 15:44
A STIRRING second half fightback from Evesham United clinched a crucial and thrilling 3-2 victory at Hemel Hempstead Town on Tuesday to lift the Robins five points clear of the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division relegation zone.
The fine result, on the back of Saturday's hard earned 1-1 draw at play-off chasing Leamington, is the perfect boost for Matt Clarke and his side ahead of further important matches against more play-off hopefuls over the coming week as they host St Albans City tomorrow before visiting Stourbridge on Tuesday.
The Robins had looked dead and buried at the break on Tuesday but hit back to clinch their first ever victory at Vauxhall Road.
Winger David Pearce did the damage before the break as he netted twice in the opening quarter, but nine minutes after the restart Evesham reduced their arrears when defender Henry Eze again proved his menace at set pieces by arriving late at the back post to power Lewis Tasker's corner past home keeper Ross Kitteridge for his fourth goal in as many matches.
On 66 minutes United levelled through top scorer Marcus Palmer who rounded Kitteridge before firing home his 16th goal of the season.
With Hemel on the back foot, Evesham sensed blood and two minutes later bagged the winner when Craig Wilding got on the end of Ben Pugh's cross to glance in a header past the helpless Kitteridge.
The Hemel stopper prevented a fourth United goal in the closing stages when he dived full length to keep out Pugh's fiercely struck free kick after Palmer had been fouled just outside the box, but by now the damage had been done as the second from bottom hosts found themselves ten points behind Evesham when at half time it looked as though they were set to cut that deficit to four.
On Saturday Evesham were full value for their first point against the Brakes since December 2007 in what proved to be a fiery encounter.
Very windy conditions made life tough for the teams and Evesham - with the elements in their favour in the opening period - saw Palmer have an early effort ruled offside before former Leamington midfielder Wilding directed Neil MacKenzie's free kick wide.
Eze was off target from another MacKenzie set piece before the hosts took a 29th minute lead against the run of play when Alex Taylor's free kick was only cleared as far as Liam Daly who found the net from six yards.
Moments before the goal United manager Clarke had been sent to the stands for remonstrating with the officials about the award of the free kick but the visitors responded well to these setbacks and levelled in the 40th minute when former Evesham keeper Nathan Vaughan could only push Tasker's piledriver on to the bar and Eze followed up to roll the loose ball into the bottom corner.
Leamington enjoyed greater possession after the break but never really threatened a winner as substitute Luke Corbett ballooned a couple of chances over the bar and Stephan Morley's free kick sailed well wide.
Craig Connor went closest for Evesham before the end when he fired into the side-netting.
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