Heys frustrated in Shelley defeat
By STEPHEN HOWARD
Heys luck out as Yorkshire side take the points
Prestwich Heys endured a frustrating afternoon as they were beaten at Adie Moran Park by Yorkshire outfit Shelley in the Hallmark Security League Division One.
After seven successive wins, Heys have now suffered back to back defeats as their season continues to test the minds of team management, players and supporters alike.
In many ways this game was a mirror on their season. Heys produced some great football at times here but lacked the cutting edge to make it count. When they did find the target, their luck was out as they twice hit the post.
Injuries again played their part as Max White and Chris Baguley were both forced to withdraw within the opening half hour compounding the fight to pull back a two-goal deficit, conceded on the back of two soft goals.
Make no mistake Shelley were lively opponents, pacy in attack, their high tempo pressing, and defensive resilience made it difficult for Heys, but all told it was an all too familiar story for the home team.
The afternoon got off to the wort possible start as Shelley went ahead in the 2nd minute. Some great wing play by Jacob Buchanan opened Heys up down the left and his cross picked out an unmarked Craig Billington whose header looped over Michael Smith into the net.
Heys response was nothing but positive. Rio Wilson-Heyes saw a shot held low by visiting ‘keeper Paul Day.
White then picked out Brad Sixsmith whose shot came off the post before being scrambled to safety as Heys pressed.
Baguley fired over before White was forced off with a hamstring injury paving the way for Alfie Belcher to make his last appearance before heading back to America.
Whilst Shelley were a threat going forward, the hosts continued to hold the upper hand. Sixsmith tested Day with a low shot before a great passing move culminated with a Liam Healey shot being deflected wide.
The battle was to become tougher just after the half hour as Shelley doubled their lead. A ball floated into the box was met by the head of Heys centre half Sven Gibson, but the ball hit one of his team mates, before taking another deflection and rolling into the net.
Heys then lost the experience of Baguley through injury to be replaced by Will Shawcross, giving rise to a youthful Heys midfield and attack.
The youngsters set about their task with gusto. Cory Knight picked out Wilson-Heyes shortly after the interval, but the latter’s shot beat the keeper and alas the far post.
The pace of Heys football was unrelenting but perhaps lacked composure at times as a poor final ball or choice undid some good approach play.
Indeed, it was Shelley who were to come closest to scoring in the 64th minute as Billington found space but he fired over from close range.
Belcher and Shawcross both shot wide as Heys looked for a way back but their increasing commitment to attack threatened to leave them open to conceding a third goal.
Only a brilliant save by Michael Smith prevented that happening in the 75th minute as he got down to block from Billington.
Heys refused to give up the fight as Gibson headed over from a corner. However, after Belcher freed up Sixsmith in the 85th minute, only for the latter’s shot to come off the post, it was clear that this was not to be their day.
TEAM: Michael Smith, Darius Photiou, Jacob Holt, Max White, Sven Gibson, Jacob Wood (Capt), Brad Sixsmith, Liam Healey, Cory Knight, Chris Baguley, Rio Wilson-Heyes Subs; Alfie Belcher (for White), Lee Grimshaw (for Wilson-Heyes), Will Shawcross (for Baguley), Dom Butler, Carl Fitton.
Heys cross the Pennines on Saturday to face Steeton at Keighley Cougars Rugby Ground (3pm).