MALVERN Rugby Club's impending relegation woe was compounded by a 43-5 defeat at fellow Midlands One West strugglers Longton.

Already resigned to the drop after a season peppered with injuries, Malvern travelled with a much-depleted side.

Late call-offs made it even more difficult to match second-from-bottom Longton who were also hit by injuries.

All there was to play for was pride and the hosts prevailed in that department also.

As the Malvern lineout failed to make the most of a penalty advantage, Longton moved the ball wide for their speedy winger to score in the corner.

In a game plagued by penalties and errors, Malvern tried to use the strong wind to effect but with so many forced to play in unfamiliar positions attacks broke down before they got into the home half.

After turning the ball over Longton put in a couple of forward drives resulting in a second try.

The Potteries men then ran in a further try to end the half 17-0 ahead.

Longton, now with the wind advantage, won a penalty in the Malvern 22 and the ball was fizzed out to their winger for the bonus-point try.

Malvern lost another player to injury as the jinx continued with stalwart Richard Hobbs coming on but even with his added experience the bottom-of-the-table Spring Lane side could not halt the tide as Longton's confidence grew.

Malvern responded with a good drive by the pack who had matched the home team's much heavier unit but they lost the ball in open play and Longton countered to score once more.

The visitors conceded again as once more they lost their own lineout then from the restart Longton collected and ran through the midfield to score a final try.

Malvern finally put in a spirited driving maul to go deep into home territory and Jon Wills, playing in an unfamiliar role at scrum-half, darted over.

They face local rivals Hereford on Friday evening under the lights at Ledbury's Ross Road ground in a rearranged fixture (8pm) when it is hoped local pride will spark a far better performance.

Although not mathematically down, Malvern are 23 points behind fourth-from-bottom Stourbridge Lions with five games left.