JUST two weeks after giving Ellesmere Rangers a 4-1 drubbing at home, Malvern Town made their longest league trip north and earned a share of the spoils against the same opposition.
Sam Rathbone fired the visitors ahead just before half-time, but Ryan Jones equalised ten minutes from the end as the game finished 1-1.
Town, who were without Dave Reynolds and Jamie Smith due to suspension and James Thomas who had family commitments, made the brighter start when they were awarded a free kick in the opening stages, but Jack Cullity’s shot was caught low down by keeper Dan Pilkington at his near post.
The game was cagey and, although Malvern had the majority of the play in the first half, it seemed nobody was willing to take a shot as good moves through fizzled out in Rangers’ box.
Momentum began to shift in Ellemere’s favour and after 26 minutes Ryan Jones forced a wonderful double save from Chas Weaver in the Malvern goal as he rushed out and spread himself for the first shot, then recovered well to block the second.
Town kept pressing to break the deadlock and after 42 minutes finally succeeded when a ball was played across to Matthew Turner who ran into the box and hit a fierce shot at the crossbar which rebounded and found its way to Rathbone, whose first touch was heavy but managed to fire the ball into the net with the second.
The second half saw Malvern retreating into their shell and falling further back inviting Ellesmere to attack but every time a chance cropped up Weaver was in excellent form to thwart Rangers’ hopes of an equaliser, and was clearly Malvern’s man of the match.
On 62 minutes Weaver finger-tipped the ball away but eventually after 80 minutes Jones broke through and fired home a deserved equaliser.
Malvern’s only real chance in the second half fell in injury time when the ball was worked up the right and crossed to Rathbone who volleyed over the bar.
The draw means Malvern missed the chance to leapfrog their opponents and sit in sixth place on 63 points, while Rangers have 64 points, holding on to fifth place.