Photo by Gerry Hunt (@GerryHunt19)

Exmouth Town were beaten 3-0 by Malvern Town, at the HDAnywhere Community Stadium, in what was a frustrating but deserved defeat.

A goal from Matthew MacDonald, followed by a brace from Jack Watts condemned Town to their third straight defeat.

The match started slowly, with both teams struggling to get any chances on goal, as misplaced passes dominated the action.

Exmouth had a penalty shout early on, with the players appealing for a handball, which sparked the game into an intensity which it had yet to find.

Chris Wright was the first goalkeeper to be called into action, as space opened up in the box for a Malvern shot, and a deflection wrong-footed the shot-stopper, but he was able to adjust his body to make a good save.

The visitors had an even better chance to open the scoring as Joseph Davies rose the highest from a corner, but the header was just over the bar.

Exmouth went up the other end and proceeded to have their best chance of the game, as the ball fell into the path of Aarron Denny, but he got his finish all wrong and allowed a lucky escape for Joshua Bishop.

Town were starting to gain momentum as Denny played an intricate pass into the onrushing Ethan Slater, but the tight angle meant he couldn’t beat Bishop at the near post.

There was a controversial moment just before the 30 minute mark, as after cleanly tackling Ben Steer and getting a corner, Lewis Platt decided to kick the winger as he was retrieving the ball, getting away with only a yellow card.

Malvern started to build back into the game, with Levi Francis shooting wide after being left completely unmarked from a corner.

Town were punished from a set-piece just ten minutes before the break, as after Dave Rowe brought down his man on the edge of the box, MacDonald found the bottom right corner with a low free-kick.

Exmouth thought they had an equaliser moments before half time, as a quick passing move saw Denny’s pass fall into the feet of Slater, but a superb save from Bishop ensured that the ball did not cross the line.

Malvern could and possibly should have made it two, as after a long-throw in, the ball made it’s way through to the feet of Levi Francis, but his shot bounced off the post.

Francis was causing plenty of trouble for Town, and his pass almost led to a second goal as he led a counter-attack, which ended with his pass being met by Joseph Bullock, but Wright was on hand to deny him.

Exmouth had their best chance of the game to equalise, as Denny picked out the run of Slater, who waited too long to put the ball onto his right foot, and his attempt to square it was cleared.

Malvern should have made it two as Francis’ cross was met by a header that went just over the bar, but they were given an even better opportunity minutes later, as Belsten was adjudged to have brought down his man.

Watts made no mistake from the spot, and despite diving the right way, Wright could do nothing about the striker’s penalty.

That moment seem to have killed Town’s spirit, with them struggling to mount any attacks of note, and their misery was compiled when Watts punished the sleeping Exmouth defence, by smashing the ball past Wright in the 82nd minute.

Exmouth will need to perform better, but also hope that they can get the luck they have been so desperately short of, in next weekend’s huge game at the Circle of Care Community Stadium against Bashley.

LINE-UP: Wright, Belsten, Mead, Rowe, M.Landricombe, Morison, Slater, Denny, Steer (High, 58), Bath, Ham (L.Landricombe, 75).

Subs not used: Sowden-Bird (GK).


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