EVESHAM United boss Paul Collicutt issued a call for unity on the back of striker Lewis Powell being berated by his own supporters on Saturday.

Powell, who played his first match since recovering from injury in the 1-0 home victory over Winchester City, was angered by comments made as he got substituted in the 75th minute.

The alleged perpetrators have since apologised via social media with Collicutt keen to see focus shift back to United’s push for a Southern League West play-off place.

“It was Lewis’s first game for five or six weeks after injury and starting gave his team-mates a lift,” said Collicutt.

“He had trained well in the week, we hoped to get 60-70 minutes out of him and he felt good at half-time.

“We knew we would not get 90 minutes out of him, he knew that as well but we pushed him. He worked his socks off, put in a good shift and was upset as he came off.

“I didn’t realise how bad it was until then. I spoke to our supporters’ club chairman who said he would deal with it and from what I gather, he has. I also understand there has been a public apology.

“I know Lewis was deeply hurt by it. People might have looked at Lewis and wondered whether he had questioned my decision to take him off but that could not be further from the truth.

“I don’t know what was said, at the time I just focused on calming him down.

“The people involved have apologised, though. Hopefully, we can deal with it internally and move on. The club has to be united.

“Lewis is a good player, a genuine lad and it has taken me a long time to get him to Evesham United. He wants to be successful for us so he should be encouraged, just like the rest of the squad.

“I got him for a reason, because I rate him as a player and as a goal scorer. We have not scored as consistently as we would have liked this season.

“Lewis is desperate to do well, people don’t realise how hungry he is and has had his injuries. Like all of my players, I will always back them.

“He is a match winner and we need him on the park, not off it.”