Evesham United 0 Bristol Manor Farm 0
Both goalkeepers took centre-stage during this entertaining drama with the
curtain having risen again on a non-league programme that has been decimated
in the last few weeks by severe rainfall.
Rain was thankfully no longer a contending element at the Spiers & Hartwell
Stadium on Saturday but a strong wind blew straight down the pitch from one
end to the other for the full 90 minutes – offering something of an advantage to
whoever made use of its strength.
Evesham had it at their backs in the first half but could not find an early
breakthrough against dogged and resilient opponents. Manor Farm’s Ben John
was the first of the ‘keepers to shine when he saved well from a flashing header
crossed from the left in the 12 th minute.
A good battle began to unfold from the swirling maelstrom of midfield with
Robins captain Danny Bragoli generally leading the way for the home side and
the experienced Ashley Kington, alongside Farm skipper Jamie Adams and
Jordan Metters, keeping the visitors ticking with some nice probing passing of
their own. Centre-forward Alan Griffin – a tireless target man for the
Portwaymen all afternoon – had a confident penalty appeal turned down in the
14 th minute and Kington set up Metters who volleyed over in the 15 th . Sixty
seconds later Evesham broke at pace down the left with Harry Franklin lobbing
a bouncing ball across the advancing John but wide of the far post. Some neat
Farm interplay on the edge of the Evesham penalty area put Olly Mehew
through in a central position but his slightly too-heavy touch allowed Evesham
‘keeper Lochlan Robertson to get out quickly and save bravely at the striker’s
feet. Robertson then had to get down smartly three minutes later to keep out a
20-yard effort by Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist.
Around the half-hour mark the Manor Farm defence came under concerted
Evesham pressure again with Steve Kingdon making a great last-ditch tackle
which went for a corner but then also earning a yellow card to concede a
dangerous free-kick on the edge of the box as Matt Dodd dribbled dangerously
The free-kick was hit low and hard, taking a deflection which wrong-footed
John who’d set off to his left, but with a little final help from his defence, the
keeper made a superb adjustment to keep the ball out at his right hand post.
With just four minutes left to the break and the home side thus far thwarted with
their wind advantage, the Farm were given a further boost to their second half
prospects when the influential Bragoli was given a straight red card for a high
tackle on the ever warrior-like Lloyd Mills.
As the second half wore on the visitors continued to make good use of their
numerical advantage – stretching the home side time and again out wide and
gradually penning them back deeper towards their own goalmouth. But just like
Evesham in the first half Manor Farm also failed to find the true gauge of any
wind assistance as the ball either variously flew, floated or wobbled high or
wide of the woodwork. When Manor Farm were on target with their efforts they
were denied repeatedly by a superb performance from Evesham’s Scottish
Although the half was something of an uphill battle for them, Evesham still had
a great chance to take the lead in the 65 th minute when substitute Kai Tonge was
put through on a run with only John to beat. The Farm keeper however pulled
off a brilliant stop to keep the score goalless.
Not to be outshone in the golden gloves stakes Robertson, with his goal under
virtual siege during the game’s final quarter of an hour, put in an eye-catching,
match-saving performance for Evesham.
In fairly swift succession Robertson dived to his left to punch clear a strong
Kingdon drive, clawed a Mason Winter effort out that was inches away from
going in the top right hand corner and finger-tipped a Griffin header over the
bar with a backwards leap at full-stretch.
STAR MAN (Lochlan Robertson, Evesham United)