5 September 2020
Malvern Town 1 Worcester Raiders 2
Two late goals condemned Malvern to a 2-1 home reverse at the hands of Worcester Raiders. There was a good tempo to the early action and a neat passage of play on the edge of the area with eight minutes on the clock saw a shooting chance open up for Harry Wickett who fired over.
A positive burst from the visitors’ number 3 saw him break into the area and force a corner which was cleared before moments later at the other end, Harry Clark was presented with a chance as the ‘keeper blocked well. On the quarter-hour mark, Jay Sauntson did superbly well to clear off the line from Rich Smith as the Raiders threatened.
Some good pace out wide from Clark ended with his probing ball into the danger area cleared ahead of the awaiting Turner in the middle. Another excellent, no-nonsense challenge from Jay Sauntson thwarted Smith as our opponents looked a threat going forward. The action was at both ends as Curtis Smith fed Joe Billingham who beat the offside trap but not the ‘keeper and then Kyonn Evans tried his luck with a low strike for the Raiders that brought a good save out of James Loader. We edged in front just before the half-hour mark when Billingham and Turner linked up to play in Clark who guided the ball home.
A free-kick out wide for the Raiders caused problems as it was curled into the area but James Loader emerged with the ball with a little bit of help from the defenders in front of him.
As the Raiders searched for an equaliser as the opening period came to a close, Adam Sauntson did well to deny Evans before Jay Sauntson blocked bravely as number 11 lashed the ball over. In the closing stages of the first half, Joe Bates battled his way through and as he looked to get a touch to take it past the ‘keeper, he was denied by a deflection which took the ball narrowly wide.
Soon after the restart, Clark teed up Louis Loader whose effort went just wide before another sharp move saw George Hayes make good progress out wide before his inviting ball into the area was scrambled clear. Following a number of changes, the Raiders threatened for the first time in the second period when number 14 showed good feet inside the area but we managed to get men back to clear the danger.
At the other end, Matt Fusco lifted the ball over from a good position before having another effort moments later which was saved without too many problems. After Nathan Chowns-Higgs went close with a powerful drive, an attack by the Raiders broke down as Fusco launched a counter-attack which ended with Clark’s low ball across the face of goal being deflected inches wide.
The Raiders enjoyed a spell of pressure as we were made to work hard in defence to keep them at bay. James Loader saved well from Cooper but our resistance was broken on 87 minutes when they equalised. A cross from Hunt found the head of Clark who directed his effort goalward but it was saved. It was the Raiders who turned the scoreline on its head with a winning goal right at the death with a far post header.
Westfields 6 Wellington 0
Westfields played their final pre-season friendly of the season when they hosted near-neighbours Wellington in a pre-season friendly at allpay.park on Saturday and hit the visitors for six with a fine second-half display which was crowned by a hat-trick by substitute Dan Stoneman.
Westfields had been limited to a 1-0 lead at the interval through Keanu Cooper who scored a fine opening goal mid-way through the first half but in the second half Westfields brought on fresh legs and Dan Stoneman scored a fine second-half hat-trick and had goals added through Karim Pare and Basit Umar.
This was Westfields’ final pre-season friendly before they play their Preliminary Round FA Cup tie at home on Saturday, kick-off 3pm, to visiting Whitchurch Alport.
Westfields beat Brocton 2-0 in the Extra Preliminary Round and will be looking for another good display to continue their FA Cup run.
The following Tuesday, 15th September, Westfields open up their Hellenic League programme with an away game against Bishops Cleeve.