MALVERN Town played out a 1-1 draw in what proved to be a physical battle in the wind and rain at Lydney Town.

The first action saw a strike from Matt Turner zip off the turf to bring a save out of the home ‘keeper.

Shortly afterwards, George Hayes curled an effort wide as Malvern enjoyed most of the early possession without creating too many clear-cut chances.

It sparked a spell of pressure as Rutter stung the palms of James Loader as the resulting corner was cleared from right in front of goal.

Next to try his luck was Maguire-Hamblett before the deadlock was broken on 25 minutes when Thompson found the net with a low strike.

As Malvern looked to hit back, Harry Clark delivered an inviting ball into the danger zone where Turner just failed to latch onto the ball and took a knock for his troubles.

With the wind and rain making life difficult, the keeper was alert to clear ahead of young Nathan Chowns-Higgs.

As half-time approached, Chowns-Higgs dragged an effort wide but for all of Malvern's possession, it was the home side who had the best chance as Thompson fired over.

With six changes at the break, Malvern almost fell further behind within minutes of the restart but soon got into their stride with a slick move that ended with Joe Bullock threading through Turner who was thwarted by a block from the ‘keeper.

The ‘keeper was then lucky not to concede a penalty as Malvern won a free-kick on the edge of the area which saw Louis Loader fire into the defensive wall and as the ball stayed alive, Lewis Platt was unlucky.

The tackles were flying in from both sides with a number of yellow cards issued as well as James Febery having a spell in the sin-bin for dissent.

As the clock ticked down, Loader saved well before we got a deserved equaliser when a pinpoint Clark cross was met sweetly by the head of Bullock to give the ‘keeper no chance.

It was to be the last real action of the game as the final ten minutes saw both teams huff and puff without troubling either keeper.

Co-manager Lee Hooper said: "It was a physical battle out there.

"They are a tough side who dug-in but we stuck together well to get the draw.

"The conditions were tough, but you have to be able to deal with them; we tried to keep the ball on the deck as much as possible and whilst we made mistakes, I was pleased with how we kept our shape and proved hard to break down.

"We didn’t create as much as we would have liked over the course of the game, but our goal was really well-worked.

"It was good to get minutes into the lads as we made wholesale changes at the break and now we look forward to the next test against Worcester City on Saturday.

"They have made some good signings this summer, so it will be tough, but we’ll have the fans back in the stadium to help us and we’re really looking forward to it."