MALVERN Town boosted their hopes of finishing in the top five of the West Midlands Regional League Premier Division with a 4-1 victory over Ellesmere Rangers on Saturday.
After a goalless first 45 minutes at the HDanywhere Community Stadium, Malvern hit the ground running at the start of the second half, with two goals in the opening five minutes.
Harry Wickett and Kirk Layton were the scorers as Town took control, before Ben Hayes and Matthew Turner netted to secure the victory, which puts their side level on points with Ellesmere who remain in fifth place on goal difference.
The club’s managing director Chris Pinder, who was standing in for Chas Weaver, almost had a day to remember between the sticks, but he was denied a clean-sheet when Rangers struck with 15 minutes left.
Confidence appears to be high at the Langlands as Malvern progressed to the final of the WRI Senior Cup last Wednesday with a 2-0 victory at Littleton.
But they took some time to settle against Ellesmere as they created few chances in the first half. The first of those came in the fourth minute when Jack Cullity whipped in a cross for Sam Rathbone who raced in at the back post and headed over.
It was Dene Whittal-Williams who went the closest to breaking the deadlock in the opening period. With just a minute to go before the break, Cullity’s corner found Whittal-Williams whose header hit the crossbar.
Malvern could sense they were edging towards taking the lead and within a minute of the restart their patience was rewarded. Cullity chested the ball down to Wicket, whose cross-shot went high into the top of the net.
This was quickly followed by a second as Reece King laid the ball back to Layton who hit a tremendous volley from over 25 yards out, which flew past Dan Pilkington.
Ellesmere were now struggling to contain Malvern who made it 3-0 in the 54th minute. Rathbone ran into the box and sent in a cross to the back post for Hayes to fire home.
He also bagged his second five minutes later, but his 30-yard effort went just over the bar. Malvern continued to crank up the pressure and Turner extended his side’s lead in the 72nd minute.
Pinder was largely untroubled in the Malvern goal, but he just failed to keep Ellesmere at bay. Layton thought he had kept the ball out when Josh Parker’s shot hit the crossbar, but the assistant referee awarded the goal.
Malvern remained on the front foot until the final whistle, but they were unable to add to their account as Turner, Aaron Richard and Rathbone all went close.