STRIKER Kyonn Evans came off the bench to score in the 78th minute as Malvern Town kept their faint hope of promotion alive last weekend with a 1-0 win at Thornbury Town.

Malvern have just two games left in the regular season and now sit on 71 points but stay three behind Westbury United, who have two games in hand, in second.

Their slim chances of promotion looked like coming to an end on Saturday as 10-man Thornbury proved a tough nut to crack but super-sub Evans guided home with 12 minutes left on the clock to pinch all three points in a scrappy Hellenic League Premier clash at Mundy Playing Fields.

Westbury did slip up at the weekend in a 2-2 draw at Brimscombe and Thrupp but four more points in their next four games will be enough for them to secure second place and a shot at promotion.

A run of six wins in seven games had seen Malvern reignite their chances of promotion after a winter of poor results ahead of the trip to lowly Thornbury and anything but three points would have ended all hope of a second place finish in the league.

It was a close encounter throughout and the early action saw Dave Reynolds go close for the visitors as they pushed for an early lead.

The windy conditions were playing their part early on as a break by the home side down the right ended with Lewis Platt mopping up the danger.

Then a series of corners caused concern for the home side and as the ball stayed alive from one of them, Harry Clark was thwarted by a timely block.

Malvern's Curtis Smith linked up well with Matt Turner who rattled the post and then Clark did well to feed Reynolds who fired over as the ball proved too difficult to control.

The key moment came on the stroke of half-time as a melee following a challenge on Turner just outside the box saw Platt go down and Franklin was shown a straight red by the referee.

Town struggled to make the most of the man advantage as Thornbury battened down the hatches.

The away side started to apply the pressure as the half wore on and Clark and Turner were both denied in quick succession.

Reynolds and then Evans both saw shots blocked before Malvern finally got their goal as Evans finished a neat attacking move into the bottom corner.

Town could have extended their lead towards the end of the match but in the end the one goal was enough to bag the all important three points.

Malvern are back in action on Saturday as they make the trip to 15th placed Shrivenham.