SOUTHERN LEAGUE CUP: Evesham United 1 (Chilton 88) Daventry Town 1 (J Orosz 52) - Evesham win 4-2 on penalties.

RETURNING Reece Francis was the penalty shootout hero as Evesham United won a first Southern League Cup tie in a decade.

The stopper thwarted striker Luke Emery in the shootout having almost pawed away Jack Finch's effort early in the shootout. 

Lee Chilton rescued Evesham two minutes from time, converting a Dan Bragoli's ball on the turn to the back post from inside the box. 

It came after the hosts had lived dangerously, particularly in a second half that saw Daventry spurn a number of openings.

The success had club officials thumbing the record books with opening-stage exits occuring all the way back to the 2010-11 season. 

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United boss Carl Abbott made four changes to the team that lost 2-0 to Dorchester Town in the FA Cup on Sunday. 

Francis played for the first time since the opening day with Joe O'Neill and Mark Magee making their first starts and Adam Page drafted back in. 

Lochlan Robertson, Ryan Paddock, Brian Smikle and Kai Tonge all made way, the latter being on the bench. 

Daventry enjoyed the brighter start with Jordan Orosz's shot charged down and Emery's near-post flick from a low corner cleared in front of the line by Page. 

Page created Evesham's first opening of note after 15 minutes, hammering in a cross for Magee who could not quite connect with his header eight yards out. 

There was little sign of a breakthrough until the 25th minute when Jordon Sangha crossed for Lee Chilton to attempt an overhead kick with the ball finding its way to Taylor Morrison who fluffed his lines when free at the far post.

Evesham nearly pushed the self-destruct button eight minutes before the break with Jack Cresswell gifting possession to Tom McGowan to drift a ball out to Taylor Orosz who cut in and fired wide of the near post.

Brad Maslen-Jones nearly caught out Daventry keeper Justin Cerga with a swinging delivery that was dropping under the bar but there were a couple more wobbles from the hosts before the first half came to a close. 

Taylor Orosz had the benefit of shooting both times, blasting over and then wide from decent positions to the left of the box.

Evesham switched shape to match up their visitors for the second half and started brightly before gifting Daventry the lead.

There was a warning shot when Taylor Orosz played in Emery to take advantage of Aaron Roberts’s slip but Francis shot out to his feet and gathered.

However, Jordan Orosz was quickly played down the right of the area to calmly tuck past the advancing stopper seconds later.

Undeterred, Evesham kept probing with O'Neill flashing low across goal after hold-up play from Magee but shaky defending threatened to derail their promise. 

Emery's shot on the run from McGowan's lifted ball was blocked and moments later the frontman whacked the post followed by Dean Lukeman blasting the rebound over an open goal. 

There were more sighs of relief when Taylor Orosz's curved finish across goal crept past the post with Francis beaten at the end of a flurry that should have killed the contest. 

Visiting substitute Kieran Fitzgerald almost made an immediate impact for but could not get the ball out of his feet while battling with the grounded Francis.

Fitzgerald's snapshot was then narrowly off target and substitute Paul Sullivan fired over a half volley from just outside the box after a deep free-kick had been nodded out at the other end. 

Evesham pressure gradually grew and it was Chilton who saved the day, dashing to the back post to guide in Bragoli's arced lift to the back post.

Matt Dodd almost latched on to a clever one-two with Chilton having drawn the defender but there was no late winner with the tie decided from the spot.

Dodd had his opener saved but Sam Jackson hit the base of the post to keep it level pegging.

Sullivan, Sangha, Bragoli and Chilton all made no mistake and Francis pushing Emery's effort –Daventry's fourth – around his right post. 

Kyle Barnett was the other man to net from 12 yards for Town. 

Robins: Francis 8.5*, Roberts 5, Morrison 5.5, O'Neill 6 (Dodd, 68, 7), Maslen-Jones 5.5, Cresswell 6, Page 7 (Tonge, 68, 6), Bragoli 6, Magee 6.5 (Sullivan, 78, 6.5), Chilton 8, Sangha 7.5. Unused sub: Heywood.

EVESHAM STAR MAN - Reece Francis

First game back and not always the most orthodox of performances but he was certainly effective. 

Getting exposed by United's expansive style is an occupational hazard for any keeper but did enough most of the time and got lucky when required.

It was his work in the shootout that gave him the nod, unfortunate not to have another save to his name and went the right way for the one that hit the post. 

Honourable mention for Lee Chilton who was a bundle of energy and showed why Bromsgrove wanted him. 

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Evesham will be relieved to have him on a contract because in flashes he looked too good for the level. 

Daventry: Cerga 7, Merrill 6.5 (Liburd, 81), Lukeman 6.5, Wilkinson 6, Barnett 6, McGowan 7, J Orosz 7.5 (Jackson, 72, 6), Stanbridge 6, Emery 6, Finch 6, T Orosz 7.5 (Fitzgerald, 68, 7). 

Unused subs: none.

Attendance: 138.