MALVERN Town head into Saturday's crunch clash at Black Country Rangers (3pm) on the back of a nine-match unbeaten run.

A 2-0 West Midlands League Premier Division home win over lowly Dudley Sports on Saturday made it eight victories during that spell.

Malvern have moved up to fourth above Dudley-based Rangers who are five points behind with three games in hand.

The opening goal against Sports finally arrived on 77 minutes when a low shot on the turn was pushed out by the keeper and Harry Clark was alert to tuck the rebound home.

In rain-soaked conditions the second goal duly arrived in the final minute when a corner to the far post was headed in by Adam Sauntson.

Malvern co-manager Lee Hooper said: “We had a lot of possession and efforts on goal over the course of the game.

“We had to be patient but kept working the ball and knew the goal would come eventually.

“We were big and strong at the back again and restricted our opponents to very few chances whilst at the other end of the field their keeper did really well to keep us at bay.

“I am really chuffed with the win. The pitch was starting to get a bit sticky as the game went on but we kept trying to do the right things and were worthy winners.

“The momentum is really starting to build now. We want to keep riding the wave because there are some tough games coming up.”

Clark's early strike was easy for keeper Ryan Pratt while Charlie Weaver claimed an inviting ball into the danger area at the other end.

Louis Loader fired a free-kick straight at Pratt and James Febery’s powerful strike was thwarted too.

Clark demanded a fine save from the keeper but Weaver denied the lively Adam Skeldon in a high-tempo start.

Jamie Parker headed a Clark cross-shot off the line on 37 minutes as the first half ended goalless.

Sauntson required a stop from Pratt in the second period and the pressure increased as Phil Harris smashed an effort against the bar.

Clark’s low effort was pushed around the post before he finally opened the scoring 13 minutes from time.

Pratt had to save from Ben Price, Loader and Finley Clift as Malvern peppered the goal but Sauntson finally made the game safe.

At the final whistle Loader was down injured and in pain with two Sports players helping carry him from the pitch.

Malvern: Weaver, J Sauntson, Wickett (Dyde 87), A Sauntson, Noke, Harris, Fusco (Clift 69), Febery, Clark, Loader, Griffiths (Price 69). Subs not used: Smith, Hooper.