EVESHAM United boss Mike Ford is targeting a play-off push after starting 2024 with a Pitching In Southern League Division One South win.

The in-form Robins are three points off the top five after beating near-neighbours Bishops Cleeve 1-0 at home to go sixth ahead of Saturday's visit to sixth-from-bottom Westbury United (3pm).

Manager Ford said: "Because of our start, where we didn't win a (league) game until October 14, it means we can't suffer too many more losses nor too many more draws.

"We have to win plenty of games but we started the second half of the season with a victory.

"This year the league is very open so any team within 10 points of the play-offs will think they have half a chance."

But the former Oxford United defender will want his charges to be more clinical if they are to make the top five.

Ford continued: "We had three opportunities where players have gone through one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

"We failed to hit the target with two of them and the goalkeeper has had a relatively comfortable save with the other one.

"On another day they finish them but they are crucial. It knocked us a bit and gave them hope.

"They had all the ball and we had to defend valiantly and with some composure which I thought we did and we got the victory.

"The players have won the last two games because they have been brilliant in their attitude towards them."

On-song Evesham followed up their last-gasp 3-2 county derby win at Malvern Town when Jordy Ngathe's looping cross-shot on 31 minutes proved to be the difference against mid-table rivals Cleeve on a wet afternoon.

An early shot for the hosts was well blocked but clear-cut chances were rare before Ngathe's goal delighted the Robins' fans in a crowd of 335.

Then captain Amer Awadh's shot looked destined for the goal but ended up on the roof of the net.

Levi Steele threatened to add a second in the next 45 minutes, including dragging his shot wide after being put through.

With just one goal in it, Cleeve were encouraged to search for an equaliser only for the United defence to remain solid.

Substitute Zak Hodges nearly made the points safe when he was released on goal but fired over.

The Robins have now only suffered one defeat in the last nine league games.