MATCH-winner Dave Reynolds provided a stirring half-time address and two goals as Malvern Town fought back from two down to win the Smedley Crooke Memorial Cup.

Reynolds rattled in his brace after Harry Clark’s 64th-minute penalty began to turn the tables in a 3-2 win over higher-ranked Lye Town at Alvechurch.

AS IT HAPPENED: Lye 2 Malvern 3

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It was a tense and often scrappy encounter which Lye could have put to bed during the first 45 minutes.

Jack Till planted a point-blank header into the gloves of keeper Charlie Weaver from a floated Ben Billingham free-kick on the back of 13 minutes of Lye pressure built kicking down the slope.

Clark offered an out ball but it came as no surprise when Lye moved ahead, Lewis Worsey firing in a cross for Till to thump home from inside the six-yard box.

Lewis Probert added a second five minutes later with a drive from the edge of the box that whistled through Weaver, who clearly knew he should have kept it out.

Worsey might have made it three in eight minutes but fired wide of the near post when played in down the left of the box.

Malvern regained their composure and Clark was unfortunate with a half-volley straight at Kieran Boucher through a busy box before the interval.

The Hillsiders looked brighter in the second half, though, and had a lifeline when James Febery, who seemed to be too far behind the ball to make an impact, tangled with Worsey in the box and was awarded a penalty.

Clark confidently stroked low to Boucher’s left and it was game on with Reynolds latching on to a Kyonn Evans lay-off before stepping in to fire inside the near post four minutes later.

Things became frenetic with robust challenges flying in but little in the way of fluency from either side.

Evans did well to work some space from the right, cutting inside only to blast straight at Boucher stationed at the near post with 12 minutes to go. 

But Malvern would have the last laugh with by far the best move of the match.

Febery played into Reynolds who laid off for Clark while on the turn towards the box.

Clark burst past Joe Colley with ease and while Boucher cut out the cross meant for Evans with one hand, his swat dropped for Reynolds to ram inside the near post.

Other than a couple of scares through the persistent Geoff Hill, the West Midlands (Regional) League outfit managed the game well to secure the silverware and a fourth scalp from the Midland Football League Premier Division this season.

“You always have to believe,” said Reynolds.

“I think the occasion got a bit much for us in the first half. We didn’t play anywhere near our best and at half-time I stood up and said ‘if we’re going to do this everyone has to have the same belief’.

“When we came back out our first thought was just about getting a foothold in the game again, winning tackles and battles. We got the penalty and went from there.

“As soon as that went in we all believed we would get more chances and go on to win it.

“You can only beat what is in front of you and if neither team plays that well, someone still has to win.

“We definitely didn’t play anywhere near our potential.

"You could say it was down to a few nerves or fatigue, maybe having a weekend off does not give you the match practice you are used to. 

"At the end of the day, finals are not always classics. If you win you have to happy.”


SMEDLEY CROOKE MEMORIAL CUP FINAL: Lye Town 2 (Till 27, Probert 32) Malvern Town 3 (Clark 64p, Reynolds 68, 82)

Lye: Boucher 5, Colley 6, Probert 7.5, Meacham 8, Pardoe 6, Pearlman 7 (Lawley, 83), Worsey 6 (Carter, 79, 6), Tye 5.5, Till 7 (McKenzie, 83), Billingham 6.5, Hill 5.5.

Unused subs: Downing, Parsons-Smith.

Malvern: Weaver 5, Webb 7 (Craven, 88), Wickett 6, A Saunston 6, J Saunston 6, Febery 6.5, Fusco 7 (Hayes, 86), Loader 6.5 (Noke, 62, 7.5), Evans 6, Reynolds 8, CLARK 8*.

Unused subs: Smith, Griffiths.

Referee: Andy Genders, 8.

Attendance: 275.