MALVERN Vale Academy climbed to their highest position in Cheltenham Association League Division Four of fourth place with a 6-1 win over Gala Wilton thirds.

The town side returned to form after defeat in the Worcestershire FA Saturday Minor Cup the previous weekend with their fifth league win in a row.

Without the on-form Andre Rodrigues due to injury, Vale also lost ever-present keeper George Weaver through illness on the morning of the game.

Midfielder Ben Goode stepped up to take the gloves but a free-kick from just inside the Vale half by Matt Gapate went through his hands to put the visitors ahead.

However, this seemed to spur the hosts into action and the following 20 minutes produced a flurry of four goals.

Under pressure from the Vale attack, an Anthony Cakebread corner was deflected into his own net by a Gala defender.

Minutes later, after skilful play from Cakebread on the right, top scorer Ash Griffiths was released into the box and fired past keeper Mike Tilling.

A few minutes later, Cal Hill took on Bradley Worral on the left before cutting in along the byline and pulling back for Cakebread who duly fired past Tilling.

In almost a carbon copy minutes later, Edgar Sanha beat his man on the left and squared for Jacob Hooper who was left with the simplest of finishes.

Vale had to wait until the stroke of half-time to get their fifth when Mario Vieira took a short corner and on receiving the return fired a curling effort into the far corner.

But Vieira appeared to suffer a hamstring injury in the process and came off injured.

With a 5-1 lead at the break, Vale looked to consolidate their lead in the second half.

The new back four, playing together for the first time, appeared to become more confident.

Goode was left fairly redundant in goal although his distribution allowed Vale to quickly turn defence into attack.

Jay Jones, who had a man-of-the-match performance from left-back, went up for a corner and his ambitious overhead kick deflected in off a Gala player to complete the scoring.

It was encouraging to see a more solid defensive performance from Vale who entertain Smiths Athletic Reserves on Saturday.

The third-placed Vale first team host Cheltenham Saracens thirds.