Gloucestershire County League

Hanham Athletic 1 Kingswood 2

IAN Evans, the man who guided Kingswood to the Gloucestershire County League for the first time in their history, has stepped down as manager.

He went out with a victory as they beat Hanham in his final game in charge last Saturday.

Evans began his Kingswood managerial career in the 2004/05 season after taking up the reins of the reserve team and guided them to the Stroud League Division Five title the following campaign.

He then took over the firsts and led them to Reg Davis League Cup glory in 2007/08, when they beat Longlevens 5-0 in the final.

Evans guided Kingswood to promotion in the next season when they finished third in Northern Senior League One.

Throughout the club’s five seasons in the County League, Evans continued to guide the team on single handed for the majority of the time, whilst also putting in an enormous amount of time and effort off the field as well.

Kingswood chairman Rob Bateman paid tribute to the work that Evans has done.

"He's a smashing guy who never lets you down. The club always comes first,” said Bateman.

“Tremendous success has followed Ian's involvement as manager of the reserves and then the big step to carry us on into the County League.

“No one can deny his commitment to keep us there.

“Ian has done the club proud and I hope Simon Clarke can continue to keep us in the County League for the future.”

Frank Hitchings headed the Kingswood into the lead at Hanham on 30 minutes from a Josh Stokes corner, but good individual play from Adam Grinter levelled the score for Athletic five minutes before the break.

Kingswood secured the points in the 70th minute, when a half cleared corner was knocked back out wide by Simon Clarke for Josh Stokes to again provide the cross into the box, where Adam Eldridge stooped to head home the winner at the far post.