MALVERN Town were hit by two long-range strikes in a 2-1 home defeat to Wolverhampton Casuals in the West Midlands League Premier Division.

There was a good early tempo with both sides looking lively but the visitors went ahead on nine minutes when Scott Sandland fired home from distance.

Town then enjoyed most of the possession with Casuals looking a threat on the break.

Striker Kyonn Evans, on his return to Malvern in a dual-registration deal with Worcester City, made room for a strike on 18 minutes which was saved.

Harry Clark caused problems out wide on the half-hour mark and as he cut inside his low ball was only cleared as far as Joshua Hunt whose strike was stopped.

But Casuals doubled their advantage on 34 minutes when Sandland unleashed another powerful drive from distance that flew into the net.

Shortly afterwards Clark’s effort from a corner looped onto the top of the bar and then his low strike was saved by the keeper's feet.

Jamie Sauntson tried his luck from the halfway line but the keeper saved and Dale Reaney also tipped over a Matt Fusco header on the stroke of half-time.

Casuals threatened early in the second period when Kane Cork's strike was bravely blocked.

A placed effort from Malvern's Phil Harris on the edge of the area was gathered by the keeper.

With 10 minutes left a low strike from Clark was pushed out by Reaney.

But Malvern pulled a goal back with five minutes to go when a free-kick on the edge of the area was curled home by Clark.

In an entertaining ending a Sauntson volley was bravely blocked by a defender.

Malvern co-manager Dene Whittal-Williams said: “We were disappointed with the two goals we conceded in the first half.

“On both occasions no one closed the lad down.

“That was the only time they really troubled us to be fair.

"We created the better chances and in the second half we improved as a team.

“We took responsibility and had a go at getting back into the game.

"I felt our shape was much better with Matt Fusco in particular doing well and working hard throughout.

“We got into better positions after the break and eventually got our reward by pulling a goal back.

“Unfortunately we were unable to find an equaliser because we deserved to take something out of the game.

“We’ll move on to Tuesday’s game in the League Cup now. We feel we are good enough to do well in this competition.”

Malvern host Dudley Sports on Tuesday (7.45pm).

Malvern: Weaver, Wickett (Dyde 68), Webb, A Sauntson, J Sauntson, Harris, Clark, Fusco, Lane (Griffin 84), Evans, Hunt (Turner 68). Subs not used: Noke, Watkins.