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Hereford 13, Malvern 15
3:25pm Wednesday 6th February 2008 in Sport
ADAM Dixon nailed a last minute penalty to give Malvern an impressive 15-13 Midlands Two West victory over rivals Hereford at Wyeside.
Hereford's intense physical side and a highly partisan crowd always makes Wyeside a difficult place for teams to visit.
As expected, the hosts put Malvern under the cosh for the first 40 minutes, using the wind and slope to their advantage to put pressure on the league leaders.
Spurred on by the large crowd, Hereford battered away at a resilient Malvern defence, having taken a second-minute lead through a Grisman try.
Hereford struggled to break down Malvern's rearguard, but did add a penalty in the 21st minute for offside.
Jamie Gwynne left the field after a stamp left him needing 12 stitches to a torn ear, so Ned Anderson came on as a replacement scrum-half to make his debut.
Malvern continued to defend heroically until the break, turning round with the slope and breeze at their backs.
It was now Malvern's turn to use the elements and they duly pressed Hereford back.
As the fight-back began so Hereford's cruder tactics were exposed as their scrum-half was sin-binned for stamping.
Malvern made good use of the extra man advantage, kicking a penalty to seven metres from the Hereford line.
The catch-and-drive was employed and hooker Luke Greenwood went over to score in the 55th minute.
Malvern skipper Ryan Watkins then went on a break, linking up with winger Ryan Henshaw and taking the return pass to cross the line, only for the home touch judge to give a foot-in-touch decision.
After a Dixon penalty hit the post and rebounded out, Hereford looked to have stifled Malvern's hopes as they ran in a try from deep in their own half with 15 minutes left.
As the match entered the last three minutes, Richard Fleming came in from his wing to take on the Hereford defence in the middle of the field. He broke two tackles and popped the ball to centre Ted Lang to barge his way through to score and set up Dixon's conversion.
With only a minute plus injury time left, Malvern were still a point behind.
Full-back Chris Hooper took Hereford's clearance kick, put in a 45-metre return into the home 22' and Malvern secured the ball.
Patiently recycling and retaining possession, Malvern piled pressure on until Hereford's nerve cracked and a hand went into the ruck.
Dixon stepped up for what would be the last play of the game. The young stand-off put the penalty over to stretch Malvern's lead at the top of the table to five points.