EVESHAM United scored after 23 seconds, fought back to lead from 3-1 down yet had to rely on a penalty save to win a madcap clash with Slimbridge.

Carl Abbott’s Robins were as sensational in attack as they were suicidal at the back, surging back from the abyss with the help of a triple substitution just before the hour mark.

Kai Tonge swept home after being played in by Jack Cresswell before many had taken their seats only for Soloman Wanjau-Smith to level with a low finish across goal in the third minute. 

Wanjau-Smith was fouled with Tom Handley finding the bottom far corner with a low free-kick from the left corner of the box 25 minutes in. 

Myron Turner had the freedom of the Evesham box to tuck in Wanjau-Smith's centre four minutes after half-time but a triple substitution quickly turned the tide.

Lee Chilton smashed in two in as many minutes following good work from the left by replacements Dave Reynolds then Taylor Morrison. 

The tide was turned when Chilton's near-post corner was diverted in by keeper Lewis Adams after a flurry of chances had gone begging. 

Slimbridge should still have snatched a share of the spoils when Aaron Roberts tripped Myron Turner but Jack Horrell had his spot-kick saved by Lochlan Robertson. 

To rub salt into the wound, Horrell would be thwarted one on one by Robertson with a minute to go.

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Even when the errors happened, gifting Slimbridge two great chances to move further ahead by half-time, Evesham's open and expansive play was fun to watch. 

The movement of the ball and players was a sight to behold at times, even if the execution was slightly off. 

Then there's the fightback. Even at 3-1 you never had the feeling the game was up and with grumbles from the stand growing louder it took bottle to stick to the game plan.


That movement and no out-and-out number nine stifled the good intentions, the attack lacked a focal point which played a part in losing the ball in bad areas. 

Hesitancy on the wrong side of the halfway line played United into trouble and once that started happening, it became contagious. 

Evesham will come up against better than this young Slimbridge side, and will certainly face more streetwise opponents.

They won't get away with such sloppiness often.


At 4-3 Evesham began to drop back so Brad Maslen-Jones darting out from centre-half 50-plus yards up the pitch to tee up Chilton with a sublime pass deserved to be an assist. 

Summed up how the hosts played expansively at all times.


The number of errors was a concern, as was the way momentum drifted when in front. 

Did being so open sap the energy?


Lee Chilton not only provided three of the four goals (well, sort of) but constantly moved between the lines to give Slimbridge problems. 

Would have been easy to go hiding after getting clumped early on but was effervescent from start to finish. 

Robins: Robertson 8, Roberts 5, Smikle 5.5 (Morrison, 59, 6.5), Paddock 5, Maslen-Jones 6, McGrath 6, Dodd 7, Bragoli 5 (Reynolds, 59, 8), Tonge 7.5, Chilton 8.5*, Cresswell 7.5 (Sangha, 59, 7). Unused subs: O’Neill, Till.

Slimbridge: Adams 5, Handley 7.5, Peck 6 (Letori, 59, 6), Chambers 7, C Turner 5.5, White 6, Tuodolo 6.5, D Turner, 7 Bloomfield 6.5 (Horrell, 81, 5), M Turner 7.5, Wanjau-Smith 8 (Tucker-Dixon, 62, 6.5). Unused subs: Beckinsale, Ford.

Referee: Tom Bowkett, 7.

Attendance: 208.


Evesham United manager Carl Abbott

"It was a dream start, maybe a little bit too good. 

"Their two goals were of our own making, through mistakes. It seems to be a common theme at the moment that we concede whenever we make an error. 

"I don't know whether it is the level but I can't believe you get punished every time you give the ball away in this division all season, I think we're having a bit of bad luck there.

"We kept the ball well and at half-time I was at a loss as to what to say to the lads because so much was good yet so much was dreadful. It was a real mixed bag. 

"I thought we were the better side all night, the classier side but we got suckered.

"At 3-1 we had to make drastic changes and we really loaded it on them, put them under pressure and it paid dividends. 

"Dave (Reynolds) really impressed me, he is a player who judges himself on goals and has been disappointed to be out of the side for the past couple of games.

"He had a chance to score and got ruled offside, he was gutted about that but what he did was worth three goals. 

"He came on and worked incredibly hard, now I want him to transfer that workrate to a centre-forward's role. If he does that he will be playing games and we will have a happier Reyno.

"Chilly (Lee Chilton) is evergreen and fantastic, even if he could have killed the game with the easiest one. You'd put your mortgage on him slotting that away but still, he was great.

"He undercooked the corner (that led to the winner), we had nearly scored from the one before and in the end I think it was a case of sheer pressure paying off.

"Yes, the delivery was miscued but everyone was lined up for a great routine and we scored from the mayhem.

"I am over the moon. We were unbelievable at Larkhall for 82 minutes last week, absolutely sizzling but we squandered a two-goal lead.

"We might have huffed and puffed but there was a lot of heart and desire. 

"I think people might have been worried about us being a footballing side that's a soft touch. We won this one the other way, we scrapped and showed we have a bit of courage about us, that we are no soft touch."

Slimbridge manager Lee Driver-Dickerson

"Anyone watching would have seen we were the better team bar a crazy 10 minutes.

"I don't care what anyone says, we had the better chances throughout.

"Their keeper has stopped the penalty and pulled off one or two great saves, ours hasn't had to make one. 

"The goals we are conceding and mistakes are killing us at the moment so something has to be done.

"We were in control of the game, we didn't have too much possession but the transition from defence to attack caused them problems all the time.

"It is difficult to take because of the naivety from our young guys but they will learn, I just hope it happens quickly."


Within the opening minute Jack Cresswell found space on the left to release Kai Tonge who dashed in from the left of the box to finish from close range.

The visitors soon hit back with Soloman Wanjau-Smith picking up possession on the left wing to cut inside his man and bend a tidy finish around Lochlan Robertson.

Slimbridge centre-half Christien Turner would have been counting his lucky stars when he scythed down Matt Dodd in full flight midway through the first half, picking up what should have been his second booking having clattered into the back of Chilton during the opening exchanges.

Evesham kept trying to play out from the back only to gift possession in bad areas and were made to pay 25 minutes in.

Wanjau-Smith had been upended by the backtracking Chilton on the left edge of the area and Tom Handley stroked a free-kick low along the floor and inside the far post.

Adam Bloomfield then picked Ryan Paddock’s pocket only to fire straight at Robertson and stopper, on work experience from Bristol City, had to pluck Myron Turner’s lob out of the air before half-time.

Slimbridge led through gifts but crafted the third with a pass from the middle cushioned by Wanjau-Smith low for Myron Turner to take a touch and finish with aplomb from close range.

Abbott responded by bringing on Dave Reynolds, Jordon Sangha and new signing Taylor Morrison and the gamble paid off with two goals in the next two minutes.

Reynolds sprinted down the left and drilled in for Dodd who was thwarted by his marker in front of goal but Chilton came steaming in to lash into the roof of the net.

The leveller had a familiar feel as Morrison surged down the channel and cut back for the same late run from Chilton who lifted high across goal and inside the far post.

Slimbridge may have been scrambling without the ball but continued to threaten with it, Dion Chambers having a low drive from 20 yards pushed around the upright by a good strong hand from Robertson.

Scenting blood, Evesham kept probing with Tonge released down the right by Reynolds to hammer in for Dodd to again get denied right in front of goal.

Paddock's effort was hacked off the line from the corner with Tonge’s rebound deflected up and over the goal but United's enterprise was about to pay off.

Chilton’s low corner to the near post squeezed past the first man and hit the shin of adjusting keeper Lewis Adams to end up in the back of the net.

Those expecting an avalanche from there were in for a shock, though, despite Chilton having a golden chance to rubber stamp the result.

United had started to sink deep but Brad Maslen-Jones darted the length of the pitch from centre-half to pick out Chilton with a precise ball on the edge of the box.

Right of centre with the goal gaping, his first-time side-footed shot sailed over.

The Robins kept retreating and with six minutes to go seemed destined to be denied victory. 

Former United winger Tyrone Tucker-Dixon got between two defenders scrapping for a high cross with Aaron Roberts then tripping Myron Turner while stretching for the loose ball.

Jack Horrell, who had signed for Evesham before switching to Slimbridge during pre-season, took it but Robertson dived low to his right, collecting at the second attempt.

The visitors were still not done and another high, deep ball from Handley hit the side of Tucker-Dixon's head little more than six yards out.

It bounced back across goal to Horrell who was all alone but that man Robertson spread himself well and smothered at his feet, a save that decided the destiny of the points.