Match Report: Malvern Town 1 Fairford Town 1
MALVERN Town grabbed a late point in a tough battle with Fairford Town.
The early action saw a probing ball from Curtis Smith scrambled clear before a free-kick from Louis Loader was half-cleared as far as Joe Bates who dragged wide from just outside the area.
The visitors threatened when a free-kick on the edge of the area was struck through the wall by Preece and as the loose ball fell to Peare in front of goal, his strike was blocked by his own team-mate.
Our opponents were asking a few early questions as Jay Sauntson had to be alert to defend well and from the resulting corner, Herring curled just wide of the target.
Great hold-up play from Matt Turner saw him feed Joe Bullock who in turn picked out Reynolds and his powerful strike was well saved for our best chance of the opening exchanges.
Our next raid saw Turner seize upon some defensive hesitation as Ayres saved his effort as both teams were battling hard for everything.
Just past the half-hour mark, Reynolds tried his luck from distance but his strike was always rising and flew over.
The visitors took the lead on 34 minutes from the penalty spot when Peare was fouled and Langworthy stepped up to convert.
We had the ball in the net when Turner’s centre picked out Reynolds, but the offside flag cut short the celebrations.
Shortly afterwards a positive burst into the area by Bullock saw the ball just run away from him as the visitors survived.
On the stroke of half-time, Matt Reeve did well out wide but there was no-one on hand to profit from his inviting ball across goal and then Bullock won a free-kick right on the edge of the area in stoppage time which Reynolds curled inches over.
It was a tale of two corners at the start of the second period as firstly Sysum headed wide from a good position for the visitors before a flag-kick of our own landed at the feet of James Timmins who fired well over.
A strike from distance by Reynolds hit the top of the crossbar on 53 minutes as we looked for a way back into the game.
Shortly afterwards, Peare hit the woodwork for the visitors and then the follow-up was scrambled off the line.
A teasing cross from Nathan Chowns Higgs picked out Reeve whose deft effort went over before we had to defend well at the other end to deny the visitors.
With 20 minutes to go, Keiron Blackburn did well to block from Langworthy.
A deep cross from Smith was met with a diving header from Chowns Higgs who was unlucky after Reynolds had also seen a header go close.
The goal that we deserved finally arrived in the final minute when a ball out of defence found Smith who in turn played in Turner who stayed cool to finish.
Stoppage time saw Turner go close as Brennan almost nicked it for the visitors in a frantic finale which also saw a Louis Loader free-kick scrambled behind as the visitors held on.
HILLSIDERS: Blackburn, Timmins, J. Sauntson, Harris, Reeve, L. Loader, Bullock, Bates (Chowns Higgs 58), Smith, Turner, Reynolds. Subs not used: A. Sauntson, Parker, Bruton, Wickett.
Booking(s): Reynolds, Bullock, Smith