Evesham United 3 Stratford Town 7
PRE-SEASON matches are all about building fitness, confidence and teamwork – and Stratford Town could not ask for anything better than Saturday’s demolition of Evesham United.
Town simply produced a masterclass in goalscoring at the Jubilee Stadium in a performance which had manager Carl Adams purring.
Richard Gregory led the way with four goals, Simeon Tulloch scored twice and Dior Angus also netted. Each goal was stamped with sheer class as Stratford led 7-0 ten minutes into the second half before Evesham rallied when Matt Sysum headed home and Adam Mann bagged two more.
“I really want to play it down but I can’t – we played very, very well,” said Adams. “We played some lovely football and the quality of the goals was really good.
“The three goals we conceded took the shine off it but there were a lot of positives.”
There certainly were, notably from an attacking point of view as Stratford’s precision and movement ripped through the depleted Evesham ranks.
Town’s summer signings Barry Fitzharris, Will Grocutt and Jordan Cullinane-Liburd slotted in seamlessly and Guy Clark, returning to the defence after 12 months’ absence, looked like he had never been away.
Gregory’s shimmy in the inside left channel and left-footed finish across keeper Kevin Sawyer set them on the way with the opening goal on 12 minutes before Angus held off Will Wellon from a similar position to drill in a well taken second on 31 minutes.
Three minutes later, Angus’ pass sent Tulloch through for a superb solo finish and Tulloch added number four with instant control and finish after Grocutt flicked on keeper Niall Cooper’s clearance.
Gregory bettered that effort on the stroke of half time, taking on Jamie Sheldon’s pass and floating a perfect shot over Sawyer into the top corner.
The striker’s goal flurry continued straight after half time, heading home Grocutt’s cross and then finishing with aplomb after a short corner move with Trey Brathwaite for a spectacular seventh.
Evesham, after a rollicking from boss Paul Collicutt and three half time substitutes, then started to find some purpose.
Sysum, who came on at half time despite having 14 stitches in a head wound, headed home from a corner on 58 minutes and Mann showed his finishing instincts with a second Evesham goal a minute later.
Another Mann strike followed when the striker got on the end of a clearance from keeper Sam Gilder and netted.
Evesham ended the stronger, with Sysum’s header smacking the bar and Cleverson having an effort saved, but Stratford were the clear winners.
If they maintain this level of performance between now and August 6, nobody will be happier than Adams.