FOOTBALL returned to the Vale after an absence of six years when Evesham United All Stars faced Manchester United Legends to open the Spiers and Hartwell Jubliee Stadium.
Despite the wet weather, an enthusiastic crowd of around 1,700 witnessed the Legends romp to a 4-1 victory at the new Robins headquarters which was officially opened by Ron Atkinson before the game.
After cutting a red ribbon on the halfway line to announce the stadium open, the former Man Utd and Aston Villa boss praised the hard work that had been done to eventually move back into the town.
Atkinson wished the club every success for their 2012- 13 campaign in Evo-Stik Southern League Division One South and West.
A strong Legends side took a grip of the game by scoring twice in the opening 11 minutes.
Clayton Blackmore fired the Red Devils ahead, getting on the end of Sammy McIlroy’s cross.
Then Andy Ritchie followed up to score after keeper Dave Adey failed to hold Lee Martin’s low drive.
A mistake at the back by David May allowed Matt Coppin to pull one back for the Evesham Old Stars but the Legends restored their two-goal advantage soon after.
Adey upended Alan Mc- Loughlin in the area and Blackmore coolly scored from the penalty spot.
The scoring was completed before half-time with Deiniol Graham beating Adey from close range.
Evesham’s best chance of the half saw the unmarked Simon Brain head wide from a Tim Davies cross.
The second period was a more even affair with chances at both ends.
Former England international Peter Davenport, Russell Beardsmore and Ritchie all should have found the target for the Legends during the second-half.
Ex-Evesham manager Paul West squandered the Old Stars’ best chance in the last minute, stroking the ball wide with only keeper Fraser Digby to beat.
Man Utd Legends: Digby, Irwin, Albiston, May, Duxbury, Martin, McLoughlin, McIlroy, Ritchie, Blackmore, Davenport. Subs: Thornely, Beardsmore, Graham.
Evesham Utd Old Stars: Adey, Smith, Stevens, Cotterill, Brown, Hall, Emms, Russell, Candy, Brain, Coppin. Subs: Wright, Taylor, Campbell, Fleetwood, Saunders, Whittington, Davies, Hands, West, Clarke, O’Neill.
Referee: Brian Durie (Tewkesbury).