Prestwich Heys
Sat 30 Mar 2024  ·  Premier Division
Prestwich Heys AFC
Prestwich Heys
D Fitzgerald (33')
Dylan edges Heys to victory

Dylan edges Heys to victory

STEPHEN HOWARD30 Mar - 23:34
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Full report by Paul Thomason as a solitary goal sinks Colne

By Paul Thomason

Dylan Fitzgerald kept up his goal scoring form as Heys edged out Colne to cut the gap on the play-off places to goal difference as a tough run of four games in eight days got underway.

Prestwich started the game brightly and the first chance came just after three minutes when a free kick from the right met the head of captain Aaron Chalmers, but it went over the bar.

Although the first quarter of the game wasn’t the most exciting, Heys were comfortable with most of the play in the middle of the park and pressing forward, having a couple of corners which came to nothing.

The first threat from Colne came on the 26th minute. A run from halfway from Bradley Kelly, passing the Heys middle line, before crossing it from the right, but the ball was cleared away and a free kick a couple of minutes later from around 25 yards out came to nothing.

It was just after the half-hour mark when a pass from near the half-way line from Kyle Jacobs found Kieron Molloy on the left who cut inside before crossing the ball along the ground right in front of the goal for Dylan Fitzgerald to tap it in. A deserved assist from Molloy who worked hard all game, with the pass from Jacobs opening up the Colne defence.

Five minutes after the goal, it got worse for Colne as Gabriel Cole was sin-binned for dissent which meant the visitors would end the first half a man down. Heys couldn’t take advantage of the player advantage with their next chance not coming until the 44th minute when a cross on the left by Jack McConnell found its way to Aaron Chalmers, but his shot was well saved by Charles Monks in the Colne goal.

The home side having dominated most of the first half went into half time with a deserved lead but would have felt they could have had more than one but were just lacking something in and around the penalty area with Russell Saunders at the other end not having a save to make.

The second half began the way the first half ended. The first chance coming four minutes after the restart when a shot from Kyle Jacobs just outside the penalty area was tipped over the bar by Monks.

With Colne now back to full strength, the next 15 minutes or so was played in the middle of the park where both teams battled to take control of the game. The only chance during this period came from Heys where a throw-in from the left the ball ended up on the head of Matt Davies at the near post. He flicked it back across the goal, unfortunately nobody was there to get that final touch which even at this point you would have felt that would have been job done.

The home side’s final chance of the game was in the 72nd minute when a 20-yard effort from Samuel Olawumi lacked the pace to trouble the man between the sticks for Colne who held it comfortably.

It was in the final ten minutes when Colne finally grew into the game. During this period, it became squeaky bum time for the home fans. On 83 minutes, Colne probably should have equalised with three attempts in a goalmouth scramble, firstly well saved by Saunders, making his first real save of the match, followed by a couple of blocks from the Heys defence before eventually being cleared as the Prestwich faithful breathed a sigh of relief.

There was another scramble in the Heys penalty area in the 89th minute after a free kick on the right. Once again, the Heys line held firm and eventually cleared the danger. At this point, it would have been heart-breaking for Prestwich if they had conceded.

Colne continued to press as we entered added time and had three successive corners. Finally, the third corner was cleared away and proved the final threat from the visitors. The Prestwich players are now clearly sticking to what they have and after Alex Doyle became Colne’s second sin binning of the day, it felt the points were now safe and Heys kept the ball in the corner to see the game out.

It felt more like relief than celebration when the final whistle went. It wasn’t the greatest performance, but at this point in the season when there’s still everything to play for, the result is far more important than the performance. A second goal at any point in the second half would have probably put the game to bed. Colne did find a way into the game in the final ten minutes, but the Heys defence held strong and with other results going in their favour, Heys are only goal difference off the top five ahead of the massive derby against Bury on Easter Monday.

Team: Russell Saunders, Jacob Ngoy, Jack McConnell, Samuel Olawumi, Kyle Jacobs, Aaron Chalmers, Kieron Molloy (for Wilson-Heyes 74), Gabriel Mooney-Munoz, Bradley Sullivan, Matthew Davies, Dylan Fitzgerald Subs: Nathan Emery, Connor Brotherton, Rio Wilson-Heyes (for Molloy 74 mins), Daniel White (for Fitzgerald 80 mins), Saidkhon Khamidov

Match details

Match date

Sat 30 Mar 2024






Premier Division

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Prestwich Heys
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