MALVERN Town pushed higher-ranked Whitchurch Alport all the way in the Emirates FA Cup extra preliminary round but succumbed to an undeserved 2-1 defeat.

Alex Hughes and Arron Johns put the visitors 2-0 in front before Malvern rallied with a penalty from Louis Loader before the interval.

But Town who are one level below North West Counties League Premier Division outfit Alport failed to convert their chances in the second half.

Loader had a couple of early strikes at goals, the second of which was a free-kick that dropped just over the bar.

Some neat link-up play between Loader and Kyonn Evans ended with the latter dragging his low effort wide before Joe Cuff was denied at the other end.

Malvern fell behind just past the quarter-hour mark when a sharp break down the right ended with the ball played in to Hughes who fired home.

Looking for an immediate response, good ball picked out Ethan Moran, but his strike from a tight angle lacked the necessary power.

At the other end, a cross from the left by Cuff carried in the wind and struck the crossbar before Hughes was thwarted as he looked to turn the ball home.

But the visitors doubled their advantage just past the half-hour when Cuff showed good feet before seeing his shot pushed out by Haydn Whitcombe and Johns was on hand to finish.

A good effort from Loader was pushed around the post by the ‘keeper and then just before the break, Harry Clark put a good chance wide.

Town were finishing the half strongly as Curtis Smith was denied before being awarded a penalty following a foul on Phil Harris.

Loader stepped up to convert and make it 2-1 going into the break.

The early action of the second half saw Moran flash an effort just over and go close again from a corner as Malvern searched for a leveller.

Harris and Loader combined for the latter to shoot narrowly over and then another neat move saw Clark thwarted by the ‘keeper.

A high, hanging cross from Harry Wickett saw Evans’ header saved before another sweeping move ended with Clark denied as the ‘keeper came to his side’s rescue again.

As Town continued to press for an equaliser, a breakaway by the visitors ended with Cuff firing into the side-netting.

Near the end, Smith’s attempt was tipped over by the ‘keeper as Malvern came up just short.

MALVERN: Whitcombe, Smith, Wickett (Chowns-Higgs 85), A. Sauntson, J. Sauntson, Febery, Loader (Craven 70), Harris, Moran (Turner 70), Clark, Evans. Sub not used: Hooper.