LEAGUE leaders Malvern Town Women extended their Midwest Counties Female Football unbeaten run to 13 matches thanks to a 3-2 win over title rivals Cradley Town. 

Malvern started brightly and enjoyed some good early possession leading to chances for Saff Boswell and Alice Meadows, whilst Emma Cropper put a stop to Cradley’s best effort.

The hosts took a deserved lead in the 20th minute when Lucia Meigh slid the ball into a channel for Boswell, whose cross-come-shot flew into the net.

With Malvern on top, they were gifted the chance to double their lead from the spot following a foul on Karli Smith. It was Becky Evans who coolly stepped up and dispatched the penalty despite the best efforts of the visiting keeper.

But just as half-time was approaching, Malvern were caught out with a ball in behind and Britanee Lote was first to the ball and took a touch past Cropper before tucking home to halve the deficit.

The second half started similarly to the first and Malvern reestablished their two-goal lead when Meigh pinched the ball on the edge of the area, dribbled across the box and fired in for 3-1.

Whilst The Hillsiders remained in control of the game, Cradley continued to pose a threat and after Malvern spurned opportunities to put the game to bed, the visitors pulled one back through Bethany Whitehouse to make for an uncomfortable final 10 minutes.

But Mark Taylor's side held on for the all-important three points to keep their lead to four points at the top of the standings. 

"We needed everyone at it in what we knew would be a tough fixture," admitted Taylor.

"We knew Cradley were coming here to compete and they’d be looking to move above us in the league with a win, but our players ensured they put in a composed performance and made sure it was us that took the points.

"There were excellent performances all over the pitch again and, as a team, we fully deserved the result."