TWO goals by leading scorer Lance Smith failed to prevent Evesham United going down to a narrow 3-2 defeat at play-off hopefuls Mangotsfield United.
The former Badsey Rangers striker struck twice in the second-half to take his tally for the season to 10 in one of only four Calor Southern League Division One South and West matches to beat the weather.
A gale-force wind blowing down the ground made it difficult for both teams and, with the elements in their favour, Mangotsfield held a comfortable two-goal lead at the break.
Ryan Bath opened the scoring on 12 minutes, courtesy of a deflection, converting Neil Arndale’s cross at the near post.
The second goal in the 39th minute saw the unfortunate Linden Dovey turn the ball into his own net in attempting to clear another Arndale cross.
An injury to referee Lee Sheridan resulted in the second-half starting 12 minutes late while a replacement official was found in the crowd.
Once the match resumed, Evesham went on to dominate the rest of the game.
Neil Barnfield blazed over from 10 yards and then Dovey was just off-target after getting on the end of Richard Mansell’s free-kick.
The Mangotsfield defence was finally breached just past the hour when Smith got clear and hit a low drive beyond keeper Kevin Sawyer.
United’s joy was short-lived when moments later Lewis Powell restored the home side’s two-goal advantage with a simple tap-in from close range.
Play soon returned to the other end with Evesham having a couple of penalty appeals turned down in quick succession for challenges on Marcus Palmer and Elliot Kennedy.
Eight minutes from time, good work down the right by substitute Michael Tambling ended with Smith keeping his cool to stroke in his second goal of the game.
Desperate defending by Mangotsfield prevented the Robins from scoring a deserved equaliser.
Smith went closest in injury-time when his drive flew past a post with Sawyer rooted to his line.
Evesham: Bateman, Wilson, Wellon, Barnfield (Vercesi 73), Dovey, Watkin, Williams (Tambling 73), Davis (Kennedy 60), Smith, Palmer, Mansell. Subs not used: Barnfather, Brown.