JOINT-MANAGER Dene Whittal-Williams admitted his players were “hurting” after Malvern Town crashed to a 4-1 midweek defeat to Dudley Town at the HDanywhere Community Stadium.

Josh Hunt levelled the scores on 38 minutes after Sean Geddes’ opener but Jamie Sauntson’s own goal on the stroke of half-time gifted the visitors the lead.

Malvern saw plenty of the ball in the West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division clash but Dudley converted their chances as Jordan Davies bagged a late double to seal victory.

“We started brightly again but failed to capitalise upon our possession and the chances that we created,” Whittal-Williams said.

“They were a different proposition to the side that we beat last month as they have added some extra experience to their ranks since then.

“We had a go and managed to get ourselves back into it with an equaliser only to fall behind again on the stroke of half-time with an unfortunate own goal.

“After the break there was no end product and they deserved their win in the end.”

It was Town’s second loss in three home games and Whittal-Williams is now keen to see a reaction from his men when they visit Cradley Town on Saturday (3pm).

“The lads are hurting,” Whittal-Williams said.

“They have the motivation to work hard in training and then go out there and start putting things right at Cradley.

“We’re expecting another tough test at the weekend.

“We know what Cradley are all about after they beat us last week so we will be looking to make amends for that and get straight back into winning ways.”

Malvern made a purposeful start, enjoying early possession as Phil Harris and Steve Webb both had efforts blocked and James Febery headed onto the roof of the net.

At the other end, Davies curled the ball narrowly over and Adam Sauntson was alert to clear in front of goal as Chris Raybone went close.

But it wasn’t long before the visitors went ahead as Geddes fired home with a low drive.

The equaliser seven minutes before the break when a cross from the left was perfect for the head of Hunt who made it 1-1.

In the closing moments of the first half a free-kick was fired against the posts by Louis Loader before the visitors regained the lead when a cross went in off the head of Jamie Saunston.

After the interval Matt Turner headed over before Todd Perry almost put the ball in his own net and Loader went inches wide.

The away side hit Town with a breakaway goal on 81 minutes when Davies burst through to score.

There was still time for Davies to add another near the end to complete a miserable evening.

MALVERN: Weaver, Webb, Griffiths, A Sauntson, J Sauntson, Febery (Turner 46), Clark, Harris, Hunt, Loader, Lane (Griffin 84). Not used: Fusco, Noke, M. Pinder.