EVESHAM United’s signing of Mark Francis is the reward for a month-long pursuit of the ex-Salisbury striker.

Manager Paul Collicutt revealed he had been on the trail of the 22-year-old for “the past four or five weeks” before finally getting his man on Friday.

Francis, who left Southern League West rivals Salisbury at the start of September, stepped off the bench in Saturday’s 5-3 win at Slimbridge.

The ex-Swindon Town forward rattled in 18 goals in 40 appearances in the Wantage Town team that got relegated from the Southern League last season.

Dorchester-born Francis began his career with the Portsmouth academy before joining Swindon where he played 21 minutes across two substitute appearances for the first team in April 2013.

He was loaned to AFC Totton during his time with the Robins and has also played for Didcot Town, Chippenham Town and Frome Town.

“Mark is a good age and proved himself at this standard with Wantage,” said Collicutt.

“He was on a contract at the start of this season with Salisbury, playing a few games before having a bit of a falling out with Steve Claridge (manager).

“His parents live in Bournemouth and he has started a new job down there having lived in Swindon before that. He hasn’t been playing a great deal of football but I have stayed in touch with him over the past four or five weeks.

“I am pleased to have him on board because he is a bit different to what we have. We saw some flashes on Saturday after he came on, he was a bit rusty but showed some potential.”

On Saturday’s success, Collicutt added: “It was a very free-flowing game and I would compliment the work Slimbridge have done on their pitch.

“The surface encouraged both teams to go out and play good football which reflected in the match. I cannot emphasise too much how important that was for us.”

The move for Francis came after Collicutt had been turned down by Cirencester Town frontrunner Ben Whitehead. “That one has been put to bed,” said Collicutt. “Ben is staying at Cirencester.”