DESPITE fighting back from two goals down Hereford Lads Club suffered an agonising 3-2 defeat at league rivals Malvern Town.

Both sides came into the Hellenic Division One West tie unbeaten fighting for the league top spot.

After forcing Steve Bell into an early save and hitting the woodwork the hosts eventually took a ninth minute lead through Matt Turner.

Danny Moon's side responded and Jamie Cuthbertson saw his header float just wide before Kiea Cowley-Hair also went close.

At the opposite end Sam Hunt saw his delivery half-cleared before Joe Bates’ low drive was deflected just wide.

Malvern doubled their advantage on 36 minutes when a Harry Wickett cross was guided home by the head of Harry Clark.

After the break Levi Ellis sent a warning sign by heading wide.

And on the hour Lads Club found a way back into the tie with Cuthbertson finding space inside the box before firing home.

Four minutes later the visitors were level after Ellis beat the off-side trap before firing home.

Lads Club sensed a derby-day victory and Ellis saw his effort go close before Cowley fired narrowly wide.

However, on 84 minutes Malvern struck again with Clark turning inside the box before tucking home his second of the afternoon.

Lads Club threw everything at an equaliser and Sam Plane went close and then Blackburn was forced into a reflex save.

At the death the visitors almost struck level again but were denied by the woodwork following a corner.