Shortwood United 3

Malvern Town 1 – UHL Hellenic League

SHORTWOOD ended the unbeaten record of title favourites Malvern Town in emphatic fashion, writes Jim Cunneen.

Wood lost key midfielder Guy Halliday with a knee injury and Jacob Nowell, and with Joe Wilton already missing, the joint management team of Jason Scrivens and Matt Blythe will hope the trio will be fit for their FA Vase trip to Jody Bevan's Fairford Town on Saturday. The depth of the squad is such that the side more than coped with the loss of these two players and Max Harper-Emerson again showed he is a real threat to any side while Tom Hoskins earned his man-of-the-match award with a dominant display at the back.

The game was goalless at the break but not for the sake of trying as both sides got down the flanks and created several chances. Whitcombe, in goal for the visitors, kept his side in it with some fine stops and Wood’s fine attacking football created several other shooting opportunities as well only to see them go over the bar. For Malvern Kyonn Evans found himself through, rounded Adam Clark but somehow side-footed the ball wide.

Wood deservedly took the lead after 50 minutes. Harper – Emerson cut through the Malvern defence and shot low and although Whitcombe made a fine parry, Tom Black was on hand to sweep home the rebound. Town responded and Clark saved well from Evans before Wood swept up field again. Black cut in from the left only to be tripped by ex-Wood man Nick Hancock and Luke Soule smashed home the resultant penalty. Malvern were on the back foot and with Lee Bowles and Harper – Emerson creating from the flanks.

The third goal arrived on 74 minutes and was an early contender for goal of the season. Picking the ball up on the halfway line, wide on the flank, Harper – Emerson ran at the defence, evaded tackles, cut in and fired across Whitcombe into the bottom corner.

With 9 minutes to go a cross to the far post found Harry Clark who managed to squeeze the ball home and give Malvern hope. Malvern pressed and it Wood’s turn to be on the back foot. Clark saved well from his namesake. Hoskins made a superb block to deny Miller and the Wood defence battled hard to keep the Town attack at bay.

Shortwood: Adam Clark, Ben Langworthy (Fin Blythe 80), Jacob Nowell (Josh Kerr 60), Tom Hoskins, Joe Tryner, Ben Snook, Tom Black, Guy Halliday (Max Harper – Emerson 21), Luke Soule, Finlay Byrnes, Lee Bowles

Star Man: Tom Hoskins

Attendance: 77