Prestwich Heys AFC

Heys complete the Great Escape

by STEPHEN HOWARD

AVRO draw ensures safety

Heys secured the point they needed to ensure they avoided relegation in a nervy 2-2 draw with AVRO at Grimshaw Park last Saturday.

After the midweek victory at Dukinfield paved the way for the Great Escape to become reality Heys roared into a 2-0 lead after 35 minutes but when the visitors pulled one back just before half time it made for an edgy second half.

However, although AVRO equalised with six minutes, remaining Jon Lyons side held out to to celebrate a magnificent late season run of 13 points from the last five games that completed what seemed an almost impossible task of avoiding relegation.

Heys started confidently to push AVRO back and it took a fine close range save from Chris Coggen to thwart Paul Tierney in the 10th minute.
Moments later Danny Johnson and Shane Birtles combined down the left and when the former centred the keeper fumbled at the feet of Tierney who was unable to turn the ball into the net.

Although AVRO were seeing plenty of the ball, chiefly through their main threat, the pacy Radchid King, Heys were largely keeping them at arms length whilst continuing to look menacing themselves.

Nathan Ardayfio was next to go close with a header before Heys found a way through in the 33rd. minute. George Powell found space on the left and when he crossed to the far post Brad Lyons was on hand to head home.

Two minutes later Heys increased their lead. Powell again was the danger and as he cut in from the left he was bundled over with the referee immediately pointing to the spot. The Heys winger then dusted himself down before sending Coggen the wrong way.

This stung AVRO into action and they pulled a goal back in the 41st minute from a free kick with Callum Jackson finding himself unmarked to head home.

With the match back in the melting pot AVRO made a strong start to the second half. Damien Rooney made a smart save from James Hampson before from the ensuing corner Heys survived a remarkable goal mouth scramble when it seemed the equaliser must come.

It was not until the 65th minute that Heys launched an attack of note but it so nearly culminated in them adding to their lead as Powell latched onto a Jon Lyons through ball to smack against the angle of post and bar.

Shaun Johnson and Birtles then went close as Heys began to look menacing on the break as AVRO pushed more men forward.

The visitor’s pressure finally told in the 84th minute with a goal identical to their first with Heys failing to pick up from a free kick and Mike Connor heading home.

That set the scene for a nervous finish with Heys forced to defend desperately. However, it was Shaun Johnson who came closest to scoring with a deft chip from distance that Coggen did well to tip over.

Heys had to endure an agonising six minutes of injury time before hearing the final whistle that signalled mission accomplished.

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