BOSS Paul Collicutt cut a relieved figure after Evesham United's 2-0 win at Barnstaple – despite witnessing an accomplished away performance.

The Robins created most of the openings on a sticky Mill Road surface and kept their composure at the other end to pick up maximum points courtesy of goals from Mat Liddiard and Adam Mann.

In truth, the destiny of the points was rarely in doubt once Liddiard had struck half an hour in but Collicutt admitted a heavy surface and a late flurry of hailstones had left him nervously anticipating an abandonment.

Barnstaple started well and forced a handful of set pieces during the opening exchanges before Evesham began to find their rhythm through smart combinations between Linden Dovey, Liddiard and Jordan Bryan.

Liddiard had already gone close twice, the second occasion seeing him hit the crossbar, before sending a looping header over Barum keeper Rob Holmes.

Mann shrugged off the attention of his marker to fire past Holmes before half-time only to be denied his side's second by Jordan Walton's block.

The home side rallied in the second half, particularly after the introduction of Harry Stevens to partner Billy Hopcroft up front, with some positive play that had to be countered by stout defending.

And having remained in control, Mann finished the job with six minutes to go by nipping in between a defender and Holmes to reach substitute Aysa Corrick's pass before applying the finish.

The only danger United got presented with from there was by the weather with Collicutt grateful to hear the final whistle.

“I was just so glad to get the game done, dusted and out of the way,” he said. “The worst thing that could have happened would have been to get the game called off once we got there or abandoned.

“With 10 minutes to go we had a huge downpour of hailstones. Had that happened in the first half the game would probably have ended there and then.

“I am very grateful to the people at Barnstaple for getting the game on. The conditions were better earlier in the day than what we had up here but the forecast was not good.

“The pitch was very heavy. From the side it looked okay and until you went out there it was hard to realise just how bad it was.

“Some lads had their feet sinking into the pitch in wide areas while it was quite firm in the middle.

“It made playing conditions very difficult for both teams. The ball would drop from high up in the air and still not bounce, it was like a pudding.

“You could not dribble with the ball or do a great deal so were delighted to keep a clean sheet and come away with three points.

“It was never going to be a classic. There were quite a few sliding tackles going in and we picked up one or two knocks here and there but stood up to be counted.

“There will be teams that go there and come unstuck between now and the end of the season so we have to be happy with the result."

Robins: Sawyer, Dovey, Bennett, Turley, Lewis, Liddiard (Hancock, 87), Bryan, Haskayne, Brown (Corrick, 77), Mann, Binns (Francis, 67), Unused subs: Dunbar, Wellon.

Attendance: 157.