MALVERN Town secured their third consecutive win with a 3-0 victory at Smethwick Rangers thanks to a Joshua Hunt hat-trick.

Town went ahead with their first raid on goal in the fifth minute when Louis Loader's effort was spilled by the keeper and Hunt turned the ball home from close range.

The visitors almost doubled their advantage in the West Midlands League Premier Division clash straight away when Hunt played in Harry Clark who shot inches wide.

Matt Turner’s strike then deflected off Matt Fusco which took it just the wrong side of the post.

Clark fired into the side-netting before he played through Hunt who was thwarted by the keeper.

On 21 minutes Hunt was denied by another smart save and then an attempted Smethwick clearance in front of goal saw the ball sliced onto the bar as the rebound was scrambled off the line.

But there were a few warning signs for Town late in the opening period when a free header went wide and an effort was ruled out for offside.

Defender Dan Noke denied the hosts with a timely challenge early in the second half but Town were soon back into their stride as Hunt's effort was beaten away by the keeper.

Malvern finally scored their second on 57 minutes when Clark was adjudged to have been fouled near the by-line as he looked to cut inside.

It was a dubious decision but Hunt stepped up to score the penalty.

A Smethwick strike smashed against the bar and the rebound was put over from close range.

Then Malvern's Ben Lane and Loader combined for the latter to cross and Hunt was denied by a block from the keeper at close range.

Hunt saw his low effort go wide and Adam Sauntson went close from a corner.

But the third goal arrived when a cross from the left by Clark picked out Hunt who was denied by a point-blank save before converting the rebound to complete his hat-trick.

Co-manager Lee Hooper said: “We’re chuffed with the result. We would have taken that before the game. It was a deserved victory for us.

“We could have been more clinical in front of goal because we created a lot of chances. Josh deserved his hat-trick because he has worked hard and we knew the goals would start to come again.

“It’s also a second clean sheet in a row which is very pleasing.

“The momentum is building now and there is plenty of belief amongst the players.

"This group has a tremendous spirit and togetherness about them and now we look forward to what will be a tough game against Wednesfield (at home on Saturday, 3pm).

“We’ve got that winning mentality and hopefully it can continue.”

Malvern: Weaver, Webb, Wickett, A Sauntson, Noke, Loader (Gaffney 84), Harris, Fusco (Griffin 79), Turner (Lane 58), Hunt, Clark. Subs not used: Griffiths, J Sauntson.