LEADERS Malvern Vale Firsts suffered only their third Cheltenham League Division Three defeat of the season.

Following county cup action and a postponement Vale returned to the league with a 1-0 home loss to Prestbury Rovers Reserves.

With the heavy rainfall the game was moved to Worcester's Nunnery Wood Sports Complex.

Vale top scorers Mig Passaro and Matt Strangwood were both away as well as influential centre-back Jordan Richards.

The game started evenly with both sides looking to press but both defences holding firm.

Andre Rodrigues, Nick Jones and Ash Griffiths all hit shots from outside the box that failed to test keeper Matt Lawson while it was equally quiet for Marcin Celmer at the other end.

Vale started the second half brighter and Griffiths was played through but fired high and wide.

At the other end Vale appeared lucky to get away without punishment when Alen Damadzic tangled with a Prestbury striker who was through on goal.

Vale got frustrated and the players appeared to feel like decisions were going against them.

With 15 minutes to go the most crucial decision of the game saw Prestbury awarded a penalty after substitute Tom Stone fouled a striker on the edge of the area.

Laurie Cleverly stepped up and slotted just past Celmer's outstretched hand.

Vale piled forward in search of an equaliser but were limited to half-chances that they failed to capitalise on.

The defeat put Kings Reserves within touching distance of Vale's top spot although the teams are yet to meet this season.

Vale visit Gala Wilton Thirds on Saturday.

Welland Reserves crashed 8-0 at home to Leckhampton Rovers in the same division.

Malvern Vale Reserves beat Winchcombe Town Reserves 3-2 in Division Four thanks to Ashley Dallow, Toby Ireland and Kieran Kinsella.

Meanwhile, mid-table Welland beat fourth-placed Charlton Rovers 3-0 in Gloucestershire Northern Senior League Division One.

Omar Elmougy (2) and James Lush scored the goals.