MALVERN Town's latest league defeat left co-manager Stephen Cleal feeling 'disappointed, angry and hurt' as the 3-1 loss at Bristol Manor Farm extended their winless run. 

The Hillsiders have now gone eight Southern League Division One South games without a victory and sit above the relegation zone by a single point having played at least two more games than those below them. 

A big problem for Malvern has been starting slowly and it was more of the same on Saturday, which frustrated Cleal no end.

"I am disappointed, angry, hurt, all of the things that come after a defeat," he said at full-time.

"It's not good enough. We have talked about it enough times now (slow starts) and we can’t keep doing it.

"Bristol Manor Farm are very good at what they do, they're an effective side. But if you look at that first-half, you take the three mistakes away and it’s a pretty even game.

"But we can't keep saying that. They haven’t cut us open, we have just given them the goals and that hurts me as a manager and hopefully, it hurts my players and I know it hurts the fans.

"I have been here long enough now and I am invested in this football club, I feel the hurt as well.

"Today hurts me, I'm hurting the most I have for a long time."

Having won promotion at the end of last season, the opening months of the 2023/24 campaign have been an eye-opener for all involved at Malvern.

With only one win all season, they are showing all the signs of a side struggling to adapt to the new demands of a higher league.

"It's not panic stations yet but we can’t keep going on this way," admitted Cleal.

"We have to go to these new grounds, face new teams and new supporters. We have had it our way in the last four five years; rocking up to places and expecting to win but that doesn’t happen in this league and we can't have that attitude anymore.

"We've had it too good for too long at this football club; winning games of football, playing the free-flowing football we like to play but we have to get back to simply winning the ball back.

"Me and Hoops (Lee Hooper, co-manager) are working tirelessly to get it right, working with the players to make things right because the fans deserve better."