Southern League Division One South & West
Yate Town 0 Evesham United 0
YATE Town dropped points for the first time this season after they could not find a way past a much-fancied Evesham side.
A third clean sheet in four games was enough to keep Yate top of the table but they lacked penetration going forward, particularly in the first half when they were lucky to still be level after Lance Smith missed two glorious chances and had an effort controversially ruled out for Evesham.
His first sight of goal came in the first minute when Yate were caught off guard by a quickly taken Evesham free kick but his shot from 15 yards was well saved by Martin Horsell low to his left.
The hosts were given another scare when Jack Watts burst through after Ross Staley misjudged Marcus Jackson’s punt forward and his skewed shot had Horsell scrambling to his left before he managed to tip it around the post.
Evesham thought they had taken the lead on 29 minutes when Smith broke through several tackles and finished low past Horsell, only for the referee to adjudge that he deliberately handled the ball as he ran through the heart of the Yate defence and disallowed his effort to protests from the visitors.
It was Yate who were appealing to the man in the middle two minutes later when Evesham goalkeeper Kevin Sawyer appeared suspiciously close to being outside the box when he handled Matty Sysum’s poor headed back pass but he was given the benefit of the doubt.
Smith had another great chance to break the deadlock but seemed to be almost caught by surprise as he beat the offside trap from Sean Wood’s defence-splitting past and the covering Mitch Tippins did enough to put him off as he shot harmlessly wide.
Yate’s best effort of the first period came when Staley drove narrowly over from 20 yards from Jake Jackson’s lay-off but they enjoyed their best spell of the game at the start of the second half with Jordan Ricketts pulling the strings.
Playing behind the front two, he exchanged passes with James Harmer in midfield before threading a lovely through ball to Jackson, who was denied by Sawyer coming off his line quickly.
Yate were almost caught out on the break, though, when Smith burst through again and was brought down by Horsell rushing out of his area, but his saving grace was that the striker was going away from goal and he escaped with a booking.
Lewis Haldane had to settle for a place on the bench after missing the impressive win at Totton on Saturday but he was unable add the spark that was missing when he came on with just over 20 minutes to go and the closest Yate came to a winner was when Tom Warren’s powerful goalbound header from Ricketts’ corner was cleared from near the line by Nathan Jackson with 13 minutes left.
Yate Town: Horsell, Tippins, Staley, Chandler, Lewis, Harmer, Warren, Evans (Abraham, 76), Jackson, Rogers (Haldane, 69), Ricketts. Subs not used: Felix, Knight, Guest.
Ref: Mr C Smith.
Gazette star man: Mitch Tippins – Solid at the back and a threat going forward.