17th Jul, 2019

Malvern win shoot-out after Craven hits hat-trick

Malvern Editorial 30th Oct, 2015 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

MALVERN Town held their nerve to beat battling Bewdley Town on penalties and secure a place in the next round of the WFA Senior Urn.

A hat-trick from Bryan Craven gave Les Jones’ men a 3-1 lead before the visitors battled back to send the game into a penalty shoot-out.

But Malvern kept their cool as Chas Weaver saved Rob Orme’s effort before Matthew Turner dispatched the winner as his side progressed 4-3 on penalties.

Turner almost opened the scoring inside the first ten minutes as his shot was cleared off the line before Craven’s follow up was fired just over the bar.

But Town fell behind on the 24th minute when Weaver misjudged a free-kick which flew over his head and Luke Merry was on hand to apply the finish at the back post.

Weaver did not take long to redeem himself, though, as he tipped another Bewdley free-kick over the bar the before producing a point-blank save to deny Tom Connolly.

With two minutes to go before the break, Malvern then grabbed the equaliser as Craven drove into the box and fired home.

All the momentum appeared to be with Town as they made a superb start to the second half which left Bewdley stunned.

On the 47th minute, Craven scored a penalty after being brought down in the area before completing his hat-trick moments later. This time, Reece King was the provider as he threaded the ball through to Craven who slotted it past the keeper to make it 3-1.

But Bewdley were not to be undone and hit back four minutes later when Connolly headed home a corner.

The away side were now back in the match and they levelled matters on the 65th minute when Weaver was beaten at the back post by Chris Seekings.

Having let slip their two-goal advantage, Malvern were under pressure and they had Weaver to thank for keeping them in the game. The keeper pulled off a wonderful double save on the 76th minute before producing another fine save in added time.

It was now down to who held their nerve and Town seemed to be struggling as Louis Loader’s shot was saved by Nath Drew after Jamie Thomas and Luke Morris made it 1-1.

But Craven and Ben Cullity got Malvern back on track as they responded to successful penalties from Seekings and Stubbins.

Orme had the chance to edge his side closer to the win, but Weaver came to the rescue to leave Town on the brink.

The pressure then fell on the shoulders of Turner, but he grasp his opportunity to send his team into the next round.

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