GOALKEEPER Kevin Sawyer had an afternoon to forget as Evesham United fell at the first hurdle in the FA Trophy.

Lewis Powell put the hosts in front seven minutes into the second half before Sawyer was beaten by Ben Whitehead’s shot off the inside of the near post.

Aiden Bennett’s effort from 20-plus yards then skipped through the experienced custodian’s hands and the Cirencester wide man at the very least helped to seal the deal a minute later.

Powell’s second arrived in added time but it was too late for United to mount a serious fightback.

After a tepid start, Whitehead’s near-post effort was blocked by Leroy Odiero after Sawyer had played a hazardous short pass out from a goal-kick in the 13th minute.

Whitehead had a fierce half volley beaten away by Sawyer, while Greg Peel’s stinging shot cannoned off the back of Jordan Stoddart at the other end.

Bradley Gray’s audacious overhead kick dropped wide midway through the half but the steady ebb and flow continued and the hosts survived a big penalty shout when Whitehead was dragged back by Matt Williams in the 32nd minute.

The game was gradually opening up and Paul Fahy, Peel and Adam Mann combined to free Gray down the right but his first-time ball across the face of goal was marginally too quick for Powell’s stretch five minutes before the interval.

And United saw an even better chance go begging before the half-time whistle with Fahy wriggling free to centre for Peel to guide well wide of the far post.

Cirencester started the second half with purpose but Evesham took the lead when Powell played Fahy down the left and then chested down his centre for the onrushing Powell to crash in from the edge of the box.

Town kept plugging away and almost levelled on 65 minutes when Linden Dovey gifted possession to Whitehead only for Bennett to have his shot charged down by Odiero.

But the reprieve did not last as Whitehead was afforded the chance to pull the trigger from the edge of a busy box and his daisy cutter bounced in off the woodwork.

Mann had a fizzing effort hacked off the line by Matt Jones as United tried in vain to hit back but a low ball into Bennett proved Evesham’s undoing 14 minutes from time as his pot shot flew through Sawyer's gloves.

And within a minute the game was up when Bennett tangled with Odiero in the box. A penalty looked likely but the ball flew into the far corner, seemingly off the United defender.

Evesham tried to force the issue late on but there was little prospect of a fightback despite Powell’s looping header dropping over Mateusz Wieczorek and into the net a minute into added time.

Evesham: Sawyer, Dovey, Odiero, Haskayne (Brown, h-t), M Williams, Liddiard, Gray, Mann, Peel (Sheehan, 52), Powell, Fahy (Binns, 80). Unused subs: A Williams, Bryan.

Cirencester: Wieczorek, Christopher, Jones, Mortimer-Jones (Pook, 64), Stoddart, Lewis, Spalding, Connolly, Whitehead, Horrell, Bennett. Unused subs: Walsh, Coupe.