LAST season's champions-elect Malvern Town kicked off with a 4-0 thumping of Hereford Pegasus – the team in second before lockdown.

The Hillsiders shrugged off being denied what looked certain promotion from Hellenic One West to kick off attempt two with a handsome victory, much to the delight of co-manager Lee Hooper.

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“It was a great start," he said.

"The lads did everything we asked of them and I couldn’t be more pleased.

“Their keeper prevented it from being a much bigger winning margin but we pressed well and showed good shape to restrict them to very few chances.

“We picked up a few more injuries but the pleasing thing was that the lads who came on slotted in well and did a good job to show the strength that we have in the squad.

“Now we move on to Tuesday’s game at Shortwood United in positive mood. If we can take this performance in to that game and play our usual football it will give us every chance of getting six points out of these opening two matches.”

Pegasus created some openings in a frantic opening but Malvern settled the nerves by breaking the deadlock on 24 minutes, Lewis Platt breaking through only to be brought down with Matt Turner stepping up to coolly slotted home from 12 yards.

The visitors had a mountain to climb when reduced to 10 men, Cameron Peters was dismissed for a late challenge on Louis Loader.

Lewis Platt twice went close and Harry Clark hit the post but lead was doubled on the stroke of half-time when Platt's low cross gave Clark a tap-in. 

Substitute Harry Wickett added the third just before the hour mark, making no mistake from a deflected George Hayes centre.

Malvern kept piling on the pressure and it finally told in stoppage time as Joe Bates lashed in a fourth to round off a commanding performance.

Hillsiders: Blackburn, A Sauntson, Hunt, Harris (Hayes, 43), J. Sauntson, Billingham, Bates, Loader, Turner (Chowns-Higgs, 72), Clark, Platt (Wickett, 50).

Unused subs: Fusco, Craven.

Attendance: 216