White at the double for Heys
By STEPHEN HOWARD
Max strikes to sink LR
Max White struck twice as Heys overcame dreadful weather to record their fourth successive League win at Atherton LR.
In driving rain, and bitterly cold conditions, Heys had to dig deep to secure the points. After an indifferent start to the season Heys are now up to third in the table as they enter a key Xmas and New Year period that sees them face three of the top five clubs.
There were some notable absentees here due to injury and unavailability, but they did welcome two fresh faces to the side. Alfie Belcher, home for seven weeks from his scholarship in America, returned to the side whilst there was debut for Will Shawcross, the divisions Player of the Month for November, who had been signed from Chadderton in midweek.
However, it was the hosts who made the livelier start with Luke Hincks and Aaron Rodgers both going close with shots.
It was to be Heys though, who would strike first, taking the lead in the 14th minute, from the penalty spot. The trickery of Belcher brought a foul in the box and from the spot kick Max White steered home.
The goal signalled a better passage of play for Heys in which LR keeper Ryan Kirkman pulled off a smart save.
However, it was Heys keeper Michael Smith who was the next in action as he saved well from Rodgers before then denying Hincks on the stroke of half time.
In worsening conditions, Heys put themselves in the driving seat early in the second half with a second goal in the 48th minute.
Shawcross, making an immediate impression, broke down the wing before flighting a super cross that was met by White who rifled home his second of the afternoon.
The goal gave Heys some breathing space with the young LR side showing plenty of spirit and playing some nice football.
Nathan Strong, son of former Heys Player Mark, tested Smith who dropped to his left to keep out his shot.
White might have had his hat-trick for Heys but blasted a good opening over the bar before Smith was in action again in the 75th minute to deny Jake Ambrose.
There was a worrying break in play shortly after when LR keeper Kirkman took a knock that saw him suffer concussion and have to leave the field.
His replacement, Daniel Ashburner, was soon in action, saving well from Brad Sixsmith as he broke clear.
However, with five minutes remaining LR pulled a goal back when from a Hincks corner, Rodgers headed home.
It set up a nervy finish for Heys, but they held steady to secure three valuable points.
TEAM; Michael Smith, Darius Photiou, Carl Fitton, Max White, Jacob Holt, Mark Ayres, Dominic Butler, Alfie Belcher, Jamie Baguley, Lee Bruce, Will Shawcross, Subs: Rio Wilson-Heyes (for Shawcross 65 mins), Lee Grimshaw, Liam Healey (for Butler 75 mins), Brad Sixsmith (for Belcher 65 mins), Sven Gibson
Heys kick off the festive period with a home game against League Leaders, Longridge Town on Saturday (3pm), before travelling to fifth placed AFC Darwen on Boxing Day (3pm).