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Loader and Hooper strike in Malvern away win
12:04pm Thursday 13th March 2014 in Football
LEE Hooper rounded off Malvern Town's 2-0 West Midlands Football League Premier Division win at lowly Willenhall Town with a fine solo goal.
Les Jones' side remain 12th in the table with Louis Loader also on target against the second-from-bottom outfit.
Willenhall held a pitch inspection in the morning but the boggy, sandy surface was passed fit.
A whirling wind made it impossible to play the ball on the ground and keeper Charles Weaver had to replace Ian Hill, who twisted his ankle in the warm-up.
Malvern had the majority of the ball early on but escaped on five minutes when Jake Morgan beat the offside trap only for Weaver to smother the ball.
Dave Reynolds was denied by Willenhall keeper Tom Wright in the 20th minute and Loader's effort was cleared from James Lush's cross.
Malvern upped the pressure with Reynolds heading Loader's right-wing centre wide and Lush being denied by Wright at the second attempt.
Matthew Cole had a shot cleared off the line by Willenhall, who then broke forward quickly with Morgan firing wide.
Just before the break, Harry Wickett’s free-kick into the box was glanced by Reece King into the grateful hands of Wright.
At the start of the second-half, Malvern went closer when Reynolds' angled shot from Lush's cross hit the outside of the post.
Reynolds went close twice more but the visitors finally went ahead on 65 minutes with Loader bending a free-kick, awarded for handball, around the wall and into the net.
Loader shot just wide but the players began to tire on the heavy surface and Malvern endured a nervy final 10 minutes.
But they defended well and Hooper ran from his own half late on, rounded the keeper and slotted home the decisive second goal.