IT proved to be a frustrating afternoon for Malvern Town Women as they saw their unbeaten start to the season ended by Inkberrow Eagles Ladies in a 3-1 defeat on Sunday.

Malvern have hit the ground running to begin their Midwest Counties Female Football League campaign, winning five of their six games ahead of Sunday's trip to Inkberrow. 

But it was quickly apparent that the hosts, who are now four points behind Malvern with two games in hand, were going to push them harder than any side had so far in 2023/24.

The early warning signs were there as goalkeeper Liv Rooke was called into action with just two minutes on the clock.

Malvern created their first real chance on 11 minutes as Maggie Smith played in Lucia Meigh, who took the ball past the keeper, but covering defenders prevented her from scoring.

The visitors went close again when Maggie Smith fired wide from a Saff Boswell pass, but the home side were also looking dangerous and Rooke was at her best again to deny Eagles.

Inkberrow were warming to the task at hand and just before the half-hour mark, they took the lead as Rooke was finally beaten. She then came to Malvern's rescue once more as the hosts searched for a quick second. 

But it was not long before Inkberrow did score again and at the half-time interval, Malvern had it all to do at 2-0.

They pushed hard after the break and Boswell had an effort come back off the post, whilst both Megan Lindsay and Emily Byrd saw efforts go wide.

Inkberrow were sitting back and defending their lead but managed to pounce on the counter-attack mid-way through the half to ultimately take the game away from Malvern with a third goal. 

The away side still create numerous opportunities and the woodwork was rattled a few more times before the game was up. It was just not going to be Town's day. 

They did have something to cheer nine minutes from time when Becky Evans' chip found the back of the net, but it was nothing but consolation in the end.