EVESHAM United boss Paul Collicutt must have been checking his car tyres for the remnants of a black cat after Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Yate Town.

The Robins struck or brushed the woodwork no fewer than six times during a clash of the Southern League West's in-form sides at Lodge Road.

Trailing by two at the break, Evesham shrugged off the sense of feeling hard done by to mount an almighty push for a return from their trip down the M5.

Matt Bennett got Collicutt's men back within striking distance six minutes after half-time but inspired Yate keeper Harvey Rivers proved an effective last line of defence.

Evesham attacked from the off with Adam Mann heading wide from a good position and Rivers made a strong double save from Mat Liddiard and Archie Haskayne.

Yate's danger on the break was always apparent, though, and Mayson Evans picked out Ben Brooks to find the top corner.

Rivers was soon busy again, saving from Mann and Liddiard before the lead was extended when Evesham keeper Kevin Sawyer could only parry a shot from Steve Davies and Ross Langworthy notched the rebound.

The overworked Rivers had to be alert to prevent Bennett squeezing in at the far post before a cross from Linden Dovey rolled along the top of the crossbar.

An unmarked Bennett nodded the ball in from close range following a corner from Mann and Evesham upped the ante from there.

Lewis Binns grazed the outside of the post, Rivers turned an effort from substitute Aysa Corrick onto the crossbar and Mann struck the upright with a blast from just inside the box.

There was more was to follow as Rivers blocked a shot from Liddiard and Bennett was foiled by the woodwork again, leaving Collicutt cursing his luck.

“It was hard to take. The lads gave their all and we took good support too," said Collicutt.

“I would like to thank all of the people that travelled, they made a lot of noise and created a cracking atmosphere.

“For the neutral it would have been a very entertaining game, you get chances and have your moments but sometimes you have to hold up your hands and say ‘well played’ when a keeper pulls a performance like that out of the bag.

“Some old Yate players had sponsored the game and I knew one or two of them from years back and one asked me how we had lost.

“We started reasonably well and were on the front foot but got caught on the break twice.

“It was one of those games that left us wondering what we had done wrong. I must have walked under a ladder on Saturday morning because it was a first for me.

“We hit the woodwork six times and afterwards, the supporters behind the goal told me their keeper had got his fingertips to the ball to push it on to the goal frame on most occasions.

“Normally when you hit the inside of the post, more often than not the ball ends up in the back of the net but it bounced back out three times.

“It was probably as good a goalkeeping display as I have seen for a long time and we have come across some very good keepers this season.

“It is difficult to criticise the players because we played some good football."