PLAYER-COACH Alan Keylock said he was “immensely proud” of his players after 14-man Malvern were edged out 29-26 by promotion-chasing Walsall in an enthralling clash at Spring Lane.
The hosts, who are third from bottom in Midlands One West, appeared to be holding the upper-hand in the contest as they led 16-12 thanks to tries from Keylock and skipper Ieuan Mustow.
But with five minutes remaining in the first half, Malvern suffered a huge blow when Richard Fleming received a second yellow card for an alleged trip on a Walsall player.
However, the Worcestershire outfit refused to give in as Jordan Hillier and Keylock went over late on to secure two losing bonus points, which Malvern’s forwards coach believes could be a significant moment in their season as they battle to survive the drop.
“I am immensely proud of the lads because we should have won but it was the second best result,” Keylock said.
“If you would have offered me two points against Walsall before the game I would have taken it.
“The only negative was that we lost and if it was five minutes longer or if it was a game of football we would have won that. But there is enough there for everyone to keep fighting.
“Every time we got the ball there was structure, there was direction and we looked really good. But when it rains it pours for us at the moment.
“They scored a good try and from the kick off we didn’t deal with it properly and they scored again, so from being 8-0 up we were 12-8 down in the space of a minute, which is hard for a team which is low on confidence. And then there was the sending off, but we stayed with them. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel which is the main thing.”
Keylock said the result has given his side “tremendous confidence” ahead of their trip to third placed Burton on Saturday (3pm).
“When we played Burton at our place it was blowing a gale and it was awful conditions to play in, but we held them to 9-0 at half time,” he said.
“It was only until the last ten minutes when they scored three or four tries that they pulled away, so it is there and we will do everything we can to win.
“But, again, if you offered me two points on Saturday I would take them.”