MELKSHAM Town suffered their second defeat in a fortnight on Saturday as established Southern League campaigners Evesham United grabbed three points courtesy of Jamie Lucas’ late strike.

Lucas stuck the game’s only goal with just 13 minutes remaining as Richard Fey’s side dropped out of the division’s play-off frame.

Storm Ciara had its say on the game, though Evesham couldn’t take advantage of having the wind behind their backs in the first half – which ended goalless.

A number of early balls forward either raced away out of play or were kicked harmlessly into the capable hands of Jamie Bartlett.

Melksham generated chances too. Josh Ford controlled a corner ball well, but could only watch his half-volley effort whistle wide of the hosts’ goal.

Evesham’s Adam Page was next to threaten to break the deadlock. His left footed corner from the right aimed towards the far post somehow evaded everyone, and narrowly missed the goal.

Twenty minutes in and United stopper Lochlan Robertson made a brilliant save after Steve Murray cleverly beat his man. Robertson’s stop wasn’t sufficient to clear the ball away from the goalframe, though his defence promptly rescued the situation.

Paul Sullivan and Jamie Lucas both registered shots from outside the area for Evesham as the half drew to a close.

There was still time for Phil Ormond to try his luck, though again Robertson made an excellent save.

Evesham were first to threaten in the second half when Harry Franklin headed over a corner after he picked out a handy pocket of space.

Franklin proved a nuisance for Town’s defence as he later skipped past a challenge before winning a corner that was disappointingly wasted.

Just over an hour had been played when Luke Ballinger’s free kick from a central position forced a good save out of Robertson, the second ball was promptly cleared by United’s defence.

The hosts’ determined defensive performance again came to the rescue when Ballinger and Ormond had chances in the penalty area which were blocked.

Then came the goal, and it occurred in rather unfortunate circumstances for Melksham. After a well-timed tackle looped up and broke kindly for Lucas, the forward raced towards goal.

He fired low into the visitors’ net and register Evesham’s match-winning goal.

Melksham pressed in the final quarter-of-an-hour. Jack Ball flashed the final kick of the game over Robertson’s crossbar, though, as Fey’s squad returned to Wiltshire without points.

Next up for Melksham is a home game against Basingstoke on Saturday, February 15.