A NUMBER of trialists impressed for Malvern Town on Tuesday night as they opened their pre-season campaign with an impressive 2-0 win over Redditch United.

One of those scampered through after a loose back-pass to give The Hillsiders the lead just two minutes into the second-half before Nathan Payne stroked home 18 minutes from time.

There were five trialists on show in total, as well as debuts for new signings Joe Davies at centre-half and Jordan Annear and Jack Watts in attack.

Despite the new faces, it was a slick performance from the hosts against a Redditch side that struggled to get a foothold in the game.

The visitors controlled the early stages and had plenty of possession but didn't really threaten Town, who were content playing on the counter-attack and looked the most likely to create an opening.

Right-back Luke Payne was getting some joy down the right-hand side and after a one-two with Jack Watts, he delivered a low cross that eventually found its way back to the striker, whose fierce drive sailed inches over the bar. 

The home side were warming to the task and came close to taking the lead when Sauntson's thumping header was brilliantly saved by United's trialist keeper.

As the half came to a close, Malvern again beat Redditch down the right but the cut-back to the trialist midfielder did not quite come off as his shot was blocked.

Four trialists came on for Malvern at the break and number 15 made an instant impact as he capitalised on a short back-pass to stroll through on goal and tuck it past the keeper.

Another of the trialists - Justin Hall - should have made it 2-0 moments later as he bundled an inviting ball into the box over the bar with his chest.

Malvern were all over the visitors in the opening stages of the second half and Payne was inches away from extending the lead, but his shot was dragged just wide.

Redditch seemed to weather the early second-half storm and a superb stop from keeper Blackburn kept the hosts ahead as he acrobatically tipped over the bar from Belmonte's free header. 

But despite the visitors coming back into it, Malvern did get the second goal with 18 minutes to play

On the counter, Hall beat the offisde trap to go clear before a neat pass into Nathan Payne in the box, who coolly passed the ball into the net.