MALVERN Town played out a thrilling Bluefin Sport Challenge Cup encounter at higher-ranked Westfields.

It finished 4-4 after 90 minutes before Town succumbed to an 8-7 penalty shootout defeat at Hereford's Allpay Park.

Malvern came out of the blocks positively and almost snatched the lead in the opening minute as the keeper did well to save.

Town were playing neat football in the opening exchanges but got forced into an early reshuffle when Bryan Craven was forced off through injury.

As the home side started to get into their stride Malvern had to be alert to keep them at bay but managed to edge in front as Matt Turner found the net.

Fields went close shortly afterwards as they looked to get straight back into the game but Town doubled their advantage when Turner went on a positive run before slotting home.

Malvern ended a pulsating opening period two goals to the good.

The early action of the second half saw Fields have an effort ruled out for offside before they went close on the hour mark.

The goal they had threatened arrived on 65 minutes when a Sam Plane cross found its way into the net.

Town refused to let their heads drop and Turner almost restored the two-goal advantage with an effort that went close.

Malvern's third goal did arrive when they were able to counter-attack and Harry Clark applied the finish.

Fields hit back as Cameron Peters reduced the arrears in an end-to-end game.

The experienced Ryan Green rattled the woodwork before Fields levelled when Richard Greaves tucked the ball home.

Malvern kept at it and Phil Harris unleashed a strike from distance that flew into the net to give the keeper no chance.

But Fields took the game to penalties late on as Aidan Thomas scored after Greaves had seen an effort ruled out.

The drama continued into the shoot-out as the teams still could not be separated.

It ended up being 8-7 on penalties to the hosts as Malvern bravely bowed out of the competition following an impressive display.

“I was extremely proud of the performance that we put in,” said Town co-manager Dene Whittal-Williams.

“As their league position would suggest our hosts were a very strong side but we started the game really brightly.

“There was a suspicion of offside with at least one of their goals but we kept at it.

“To lose on penalties is always hard to take. I think we deserved to be in the hat for the next round but I am really proud of the performance that the lads put in.

"We can take a lot of confidence from this and hopefully we can replicate this kind of display in the league this weekend.”

Malvern visit winless Bourton Rovers in Hellenic League Division One West on Saturday (3pm).