MALVERN Town clinched their first win in more than a month when they defeated Cradley 4-3 at the HDanywhere Community Stadium on Saturday.
Sam Rathbone, Dan Herbert and Dene Whittal-Williams all scored as Town gave themselves a 3-1 lead at half time. Ben Hayes added a fourth after the break as Malvern seemed set to end their winless run in fine style.
But Cradley refused to give in and looked like snatching it when Adam Meacham bagged a brace to set up a tense finale.
Les Jones’ side were on a run of a four games without a win but appeared determined to end the run as they opened the scoring inside the opening seven minutes. Rathbone provided the finishing touch after Hayes sent the ball into the box.
But Cradley were also up for the encounter and they quickly cancelled that out when Sam Wilkinson and Ryan Edwards threaded their through the home defence before the latter slotted the ball home.
Hooper almost made it 2-1 as his shot was saved, but the striker then turned provider on the half hour mark when he set up Herbert to score Town’ second.
Malvern appeared to be cruising when Whittal-Williams headed home Rathbone’s corner to move 3-1 in front, while Hayes continued to cause the visitors’ defence problems.
He also got his name on the score-sheet four minutes after the break when he pounced on a mistake from George Rogers to score.
This gave Town a 4-1 lead, but Cradley continued to threaten as Matthew Poyner’s 25-yard strike hit the woodwork before Meacham found the back of the net.
Meacham added another in the 72nd minute as Cradley moved within a goal of snatching a point.
Kirk Laylton almost sealed victory for Town late on as his header cannoned off the bar, while Christopher Whittaker missed a great chance to level the match in the 88th minute.