FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

Malvern Town 1

Whitchurch Alport 2

Whitchurch Alport set up a clash with Coleshill Town as they just about held off the challenge of a plucky Malvern side.

In the extra preliminary first round tie, Alport at one stage in the match looked to be in cruise control. The job appeared to have been completed in the first half when goals from Alex Hughes and Aaron Johns put the Reds two in front.

But after Malvern netted a penalty just before the break, Alport lost their way a little, and by the end of the match the excellent travelling support were baying for the final whistle.

Malvern had to concede home advantage with their stadium undergoing a revamp and so the game took place in Hereford, at Westfields FC.

The wind blew all around the ground with the home side kicking into it and not faring very well in terms of clear-cut chances but returning keeper, Dave Parton, was certainly kept busy if only for claiming corner kicks or handling goalbound efforts.

Winger Joe Cuff was the early outlet ball for the visitors and he was the first to test Malvern goalkeeper Hayden Whitcombe with a ferocious shot that looked to be heading for the top corner of the near post.

Whitcombe flew across his goal to make a smart save but Alport weren’t to be denied for much longer.

With 15 minutes on the watch Hughes finished with aplomb after great work down the right flank by right back Joe Minshall. Midway through the half Whitcombe was grateful that the woodwork came to his rescue when a cross from Sean Griffiths smacked against the bar with the keeper totally misjudging it in the wind.

With half an hour gone the Reds went two clear after Whitcombe did well to save Cuff’s initial effort, but there was Johns to gobble up the rebound.

At this point in the proceedings it was a case of how many the away side would win by but for 10 minutes at least before the interval, Malvern came more and more into the contest.

Lloyd London tested Parton with a fizzing drive that was arrowing towards the bottom corner but the Reds stopper made a terrific save.

Luke Goddard’s men had already had an almighty let off when Harry Clark inexplicably headed wide of an open goal when Parton uncharacteristically flapped at a corner.

A couple of dodgy back passes suggested panic in Alport’s rearguard and a clumsy tackle in the penalty area handed Town a lifeline seconds before the break.

London placed the penalty beyond Parton who was furious with himself not to have made the save.

All of a sudden Alport knew they were in for a tough afternoon and for the first 20 minutes or so in the second half, they were a pale imitation of the side that were in such control early on.

Clark went close on a couple of occasions within a minute of each other as the game entered the last 20 minutes but Parton frustrated the Town player. Alport had barely shown any attacking flair and could easily have been pegged back, although Johns went close with a decent effort after getting into a good position.

With nerves jangling and the seconds ticking down, Cuff struck the base of the post from the narrowest of angles and that was the last action of the game.

The weather conditions certainly played a part in this cup tie but it’s Alport that go through to the second round of qualifiers.