Evesham 1 Winchester City 0
Winchester were beaten 1-0 at Evesham and drop to 11th place in a closely contested promotion race, but with 24 points still to play for and things so tight in the playoff zone they are still very much in the race for a playoff place, especially as they were unlucky to lose at Evesham.
Evesham are in their 26th successive season as a Southern League club, with four of these seasons being spent in the Premier Division. They have a spacious clubhouse, plenty of experienced players including former Salisbury goalkeeper Kevin Sawyer, and attracted a crowd of over 200 for Saturday's game.
Winchester's starting eleven plus substitutes was the same as that which played the previous Saturday against Slimbridge.
In the first minute of the game Winchester goalkeeper Ryan Prycw had to save from Jordan Bryan following a cross from Garyn Preen, while a powerful shot from Lewis Powell was wide as were a couple of other shots from the home side were just off target.
Winchester however came more into the game as the half progressed. From an Oli Bailey cross Pat Cox shot over, while Rob Carr hit the outside of the post following good work from Cox. They also had a penalty appeal turned down and Pat Cox was just unable to keep the ball in play despite a valiant effort to reach the ball, when a cross would have put the ball across the goal.
At the other end Matt Liddiard had a shot saved and Paul Fahy who could come on as substitute midway through the first half on his last appearance for the club before moving to Finland was unable to get his header on target and the teams wen into interval with the deadlock yet to be broken.
In the second half from a Carr cross Oli Bailey shot just wide, while Bailey had a shot saved by Sawyer. Shortly after this Matt Bennett put in a good cross for the home team and their skipper Adam Mann was on hand to score.
Winchester then had more than 35 minutes to draw level, but whenever they threatened Kevin Sawyer was a commanding figure and he did not really look like being beaten. Jamie Barron was only just off target with a free kick, but probably the nearest we came to a further goal was when Andy Lewis had an effort saved by Pryce and the follow up shot was blocked at the expense of a corner.
Winchester had the welcome sight of Liam Gilbert coming on as substitute for Olly Griggs who had been booked and was on his final warning, but despite giving a good account of themselves Winchester suffered a defeat to one of their playoff rivals.
On Saturday they are at home to in-form Cirencester and on Easter Monday away to AFC Totton.