Heys top four hopes hit by AFC Liverpool
By STEPHEN HOWARD
AFC Liverpool take the points back to Merseyside
writes Steve Howard
Prestwich Heys hopes of securing a top four spot and guaranteed FA Cup football next season were dealt a potentially damaging blow as they were beaten by fourth placed AFC Liverpool at Adie Moran Park.
The defeat leaves Heys eight points behind their Merseyside rivals with eight games to play, not an impossible task but a big ask for any team.
Heys performance here was good. They were denied by the woodwork on three occasions whilst also squandering some good opportunities. The outcome could have been different but at the same time there was no doubting the quality of the opposition who defended well and always looked capable of scoring when going forward.
It was the visitors who had the first sight of goal inside the first minute when Callum Schorah fired a free kick over.
However, the early impetus was with Heys, Dom Slaven saw a shot blocked and from the resultant corner Lee Bruce’s header went just wide.
In the 9th minute the post denied Heys. Lee Grimshaw showed some good footwork before picking out Adam Farrell whose shot came off the inside of the upright and out.
Liverpool, who have now won their last eight League games, were also lively in attack and in the 20th minute they went ahead. The ever dangerous Schorah picked up the ball some 30 yards out and unleashed a super shot over the back pedaling Michael Smith.
Looking to respond, Jake Wood teed up Grimshaw, but he shot tamely at the keeper but on the half hour Heys did level.
From a Danny White free kick, Farrell rose highest to deliver a deft glancing header into the bottom corner.
The Manchester /Merseyside rivalry began to bubble to the surface as the half progressed as a few tasty challenges flew in and indeed the half time break probably came at the right time.
It was Heys who were quick out of the traps in the second half. Farrell and Grimshaw linked up well to play in Brad Sixsmith but his shot was straight at the keeper.
White then showed great determination to create space for Grimshaw but Lee Carr in the Liverpool goal gathered at the second attempt.
However, in the 51st minute the visitors broke to take the lead with a super goal. Phil Heron broke down the right and delivered a great cross which was headed powerfully home by Anthony Lyons.
Heys continued to enjoy the bulk of the possession and their luck was out again on the hour when a 20-yard free kick by White came off the crossbar.
Farrell then went close with a header from a Carl Fitton cross in an increasingly fascinating game. Heys were doing most of the pressing but the visitors looked dangerous every time they broke.
Indeed, it took a smart save low down by Smith to keep out a Louis Hayes shot, and a deflection took a Rhys Hardacre shot just wide.
Heys re- gathered for one final push. Man of the Match Sixsmith, saw a cross come shot come off the bar before Cory Knight saw an effort held at the foot of the post by Carr.
In the 85th minute, some neat play between Will Shawcross and Knight carved open the Liverpool defence and found Farrell in space twelve yards but to everyone’s despair, the one man everyone would have wanted in that position, put his shot wide.
It took a good save by Smith from Schorah to keep Heys in the game shortly after, but there was still time for one more chance for the hosts.
In the 89th minute, Shawcross went on a mazy dribble, before unleashing a super shot that was tipped over the bar by Carr to send the points back to Merseyside.
Team: Michael Smith, Jacob Holt, Carl Fitton, Bradley Sixsmith, James Dwyer, Jacob Wood (Capt), Daniel White, Dom Slaven, Adam Farrell, Lee Bruce, Lee Grimshaw. Subs: Cory Knight, Liam Healey, James Wolfenden, Jamie Baguley, William Shawcross