MALVERN Town struck a blow in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Division One West title race with a 4-2 home win over Cheltenham Saracens.

Second-placed Town produced a performance full of character and determination at the HDanywhere Community Stadium on Saturday.

Harry Wickett fired wide before good work on the right saw the ball played in to Dave Reynolds who slotted home the opener on four minutes.

But Saracens levelled on 21 minutes when Curtis Smith was ruled to have fouled inside the area and Adam Loveridge, who had earlier been denied by a fine Jordan Dibble save, scored from the penalty spot.

Matt Turner hit a low strike inches wide for Malvern and Louis Loader's volley went close before George Hayes was denied by keeper Jones and then by the woodwork before half-time.

And the visitors went ahead against the run of play through Jordan Bryan in the 57th minute.

Hayes hit the post with strikes from Turner and Reynolds saved while Wickett was forced off injured.

But Town equalised on 73 minutes when Turner was brought crashing down by the keeper and he tucked away the spot-kick.

Turner could have put Malvern ahead when he fired over with only the keeper to beat.

With six minutes to go Harry Clark’s effort was cleared off the line and from the corner James Febery headed Town back in front.

In the closing stages Clark stroked home to make the game safe after good work from Turner to secure a hard-earned three points.

Co-manager Lee Hooper admitted: “I felt we started the game sloppily.

“We didn’t move the ball and have the same tempo as we have done in recent weeks.

“But we managed to grind out what was an important victory for us.

“We created a lot of chances but were unable to capitalise upon them and it allowed our visitors to get 2-1 in front.

“It meant we had to show different kinds of characteristics than we have done in previous weeks to get back into the game but we were patient and kept battling away to finally get our reward in the end.

“Whilst it’s nice to win games convincingly like we have done recently it’s also good to know that we can roll our sleeves up and grind out a win as we have done here.

"In many ways it is more satisfying to do it in this manner.”

Malvern head to Hereford Lads Club in the league on Tuesday (7.45pm).

Malvern: Dibble, Smith, Hunt, Harris, Wickett (J Febery 65), Turner, Hayes, Loader, Evans, Reynolds, Fusco (Clark 55). Subs not used: B Febery, J Sauntson, Craven.

Attendance: 252.