MALVERN Town built on a third-minute lead to win their penultimate West Midlands League Premier Division clash 3-1 at Bilston Town.

The visitors went ahead early on after clearing a Bilston corner up the left wing.

Matthew Turner ran onto the ball and his shot was pushed out by keeper Ben Astley to Dave Reynolds, who slotted home.

Bilston protested that one of their players was down in the Malvern penalty area and the game should have been stopped.

But it was not a head injury and, as the player eventually got up and did not require a trainer, it seemed the referee made the right decision.

Ten minutes later, the ball was played into the box and the Bilston keeper fumbled.

The resulting corner bobbled about in the penalty area before falling to Lee Hooper, whose shot hit the post.

In the 18th minute, James Lush's dogged determination won the ball for Malvern and he crossed for Louis Loader to shoot wide.

Two minutes later, a Reynolds corner found Joe Endacott but Astley got a hand to the ball and pushed it away.

However, Malvern claimed the second goal in the 43th minute when Lush robbed the keeper and crossed for Turner to fire into the net.

On the stroke of half-time, Loader found Turner and his lay-off to Reynolds was volleyed powerfully at goal but Astley pushed it over the bar.

In injury-time, Loader was one-on-one with the keeper but shot straight at the busy Astley.

Malvern kept up the pressure in the second period when Lush drove just wide from Reynolds' pass and then a shot from the former was diverted for a corner.

But Bilston hit back with three consecutive corners in the 70th minute although Malvern claimed the third should have been a goal kick.

From the final one, Malvern's Chris Allen rose above everyone and his header flew into the net for an unfortunate own goal.

Les Jones' side had appeals for a penalty turned down when Astley appeared to push Lush in the 73rd minute.

Lush continued to threaten and twice fired off target after being picked out by free-kicks.

However, Reynolds bagged his second five minutes from time to complete the scoring from Loader's pass.

Malvern play Paget Rangers in the Smedley Crooke Memorial Trophy semi-finals next Monday at Boldmere St Michaels' Church Road ground (7.30pm).

Pilkington XXX and Bromsgrove Sporting meet in the other last-four clash.

Malvern then host Pershore Town in the Worcester Royal Infirmary Senior Cup next Wednesday at the Langland Stadium (7.45pm).