FORMER transfer target Ben Whitehead helped to consign Evesham United to a 2-0 defeat at home to Cirencester Town on Saturday.

Whitehead, Southern League Division One South's top scorer last season, raced clear and finished from close range 28 minutes into the Jubilee Stadium clash.

Ellis Dunton doubled Ciren's lead in first-half stoppage time and while the Robins created their fair share of chances it proved enough for Charlie Griffin's in-form side to leave with all three points.

Jacob Davidge had a low cross cleared and then saw his finish sail over from a Cory Simpson centre during the opening exchanges before Archie Haskayne had a shot pushed around the post by keeper Martin Horsell.

A quick throw down the channel set Whitehead away to open the scoring and another Evesham chance went up in smoke five minutes before half-time when the returning Shayne Anson headed wide.

The Centurions took full advantage and doubled their lead when Dunton's composed finish found the back of the net from a deep free-kick, giving the hosts a mountain to climb.

United kept probing in the second half but clearcut openings were few and far between with Marley Thomas's header in the 65th minute as close as they came.

Cirencester almost made it three with 10 minutes to go when Whitehead rolled into Tommy Anderson but his curled effort drifted narrowly wide.

Evesham look to bounce back at Winchester City tomorrow (7.45).

Carl Brown is unavailable and Linden Dovey remains injured but Liam Harding and Steve Davies return while Kye Simpson is available again after serving a three-match ban.

“I know they will strengthen us,” said manager Paul Collicutt of his returnees.

“We have to make sure we work hard against a team that went as far as anyone from our level in the FA Cup.

“We have lost on our past two visits there so there are no illusions, it will be a very difficult game.

“It is a long way to go in midweek and lads will need to take time off to go there for what is a big game.

“We will give it our best and see whether we can get a positive result.”

Evesham: Hannah, Hancock, Tunnicliff, Turley, Anson, Wellon, Thomas (Tucker-Dixon, 75), Haskayne, C Simpson, Page (Tumelty, 75), Davidge (Brown, 86). Unused sub: Humphreys.

Attendance: 268.