MALVERN Town overcame higher-ranked opponents in the Banbury Litho Floodlit Challenge Cup first round.

Uhlsport Hellenic League Division One West side Malvern enjoyed a 3-1 win at Premier outfit Royal Wootton Bassett Town on Tuesday night.

The visitors took an early lead when George Hayes curled in a shot from just outside the area.

Ethan Moran fired narrowly wide but with five minutes to go until half-time ex-Football League striker Andy Sandell grabbed a debut goal to make it 1-1.

Malvern started the second half well and Matt Turner was denied by a smart save.

Their neat football was eventually rewarded as Moran finished off a fine solo effort.

The victory was sealed late on when young substitute Morgan Skidmore turned the ball home.

Co-manager Lee Hooper said: “It was a great performance by the lads.

“There were a few of the lads who had to do a job for the team by playing in different positions because of unavailability but they did well.

“It shows our strength in depth and we played some high-tempo football, moving the ball quickly, which was particularly pleasing as it is something we have lacked for the last few games.

“We could have scored more as we got into their final third on a number of occasions but couldn’t find the final ball.

“We scored three excellent goals and it was nice to see young Morgan get his name on the scoresheet on his debut having done well for the under 18s and reserves this season.

"It was deserved for his hard work both in training and matches.

“He is a great lad who has plenty of energy and a real love for football — you could see how much it meant to him in his celebration.

“It was disappointing to concede of course but in the end it was a good win for us at higher-level opponents and hopefully we’ll have a few more lads available for Saturday’s game as we were a bit thin on the ground in numbers due to injury and suspension.”

Malvern’s Buildbase FA Vase second qualifying round home encounter with NKF Burbage, who are sixth in Midland League Division One, will take place at Stourport's Walshes Meadow on Saturday (3pm).

There is ongoing development work at Malvern's HDAnywhere Community Stadium.