IT WAS a night of high drama at the HDAnywhere Community Stadium as Malvern Town came back from two goals down to beat Midland League Premier Division outfit Boldmere St Michaels 3-2 in the FA Cup.
There was a cagey opening to the game as both sides looked to impose themselves on proceedings.
It was the visitors who carved out the first chance after six minutes only for the offside flag to halt their progress and then shortly afterwards a foul on Matt Pinder earned the Hillsiders a free-kick in a promising position which Aaron Griffiths put well over.
Boldmere had their own free-kick just outside the area in the next attack and Luke Bottomer’s effort was on target but well watched by Charlie Weaver.
Some quick feet from Rikardo Reid caused problems as Town struggled to clear their lines, whilst at the other end Matt Fusco’s intelligent ball played in Matt Turner whose strike was saved.
A teasing ball into the danger zone was half-cleared by the visitors to the edge of the area where Fusco’s strike was saved.
It was Boldmere who took the lead just before the half-hour mark when a defence-splitting ball from Cameron Gayle set Reid away and he made no mistake to make it 1-0.
Excellent play out wide from Harry Clark saw him cross onto the head of Pinder who put his effort wide before Turner and Fusco linked up well only for the latter to see his strike saved.
Despite The Hillsiders seeing plenty of the ball, the visitors were able to double their advantage on the stroke of half-time when Ryan Shaw hit a strike from distance which flew into the net.
Malvern made a purposeful start to the second half as Pinder and Turner both went close in the opening minutes as the hosts looked for a way back into the game.
And their pressure was rewarded after 51 minutes when a long ball forward found Pinder in space and he stayed calm to fire home to reduce the arrears.
Malvern were playing some neat football with patient build-up as they chased an equaliser but they were nearly caught out on 61 minutes when a loose clearance fell at the feet of Ben Usher-Shipway whose effort from distance went narrowly wide.
It wasn’t long, though, until the Hillsiders were celebrating the equaliser when Pinder turned the ball home to make it 2-2.
Malvern were playing with so much energy and belief at this stage and it was no surprise when they took the lead after 71 minutes when a cross-field ball found Clark who cut inside and slotted the ball low into the net to spark wild scenes of celebration.
There was drama with just three minutes left on the clock when the floodlights failed, plunging the stadium into darkness.
After a delay of around 15 minutes, the game got back underway to play the closing stages.
A chance opened up for Turner who snatched at it and was well wide as the clock ticked down but it mattered not as Malvern secured a memorable victory.
The Hillsiders now entertain Racing Club Warwick in the preliminary round on Saturday.