Shawcross hits hat-trick as Heys sink Garstang
By STEPHEN HOWARD
Heys back to winning ways
writes Scott White
On the hottest day of the year so far, Prestwich Heys and Garstang played out a competitive encounter at Adie Moran Park, which the home side eventually secured with a 4-1 win.
Garstang started brightly, a testing high ball lobbed into the Heys box was coolly headed back to Smith by Ayres.
Five minutes in, and Heys took the lead. A great low drive from Jacob Wood was well saved, but the ball was quickly returned across goal by Danny White, and Will Shawcross headed in at the far post with the visitors appealing for offside.
Man of the Match Brad Sixsmith was busy from the off, his remarkable work rate all the more impressive given the temperature.
The next chance fell for Heys, Danny White played a long diagonal ball for Shawcross, who controlled well before seeing his drive deflected for a corner. The resulting deadball looked to have been headed home but Garstang closed ranks to block and then clear.
On fourteen minutes, Heys were almost gifted a goal when miscontrol by Garstang’s Westhead let Lee Grimshaw in, but he recovered just enough to put the Heys striker off, and Will Kitchen made a smart save.
There was a double chance for Garstang on eighteen minutes, their first shot being blocked, with the second going over bar with the goal at their mercy.
Straight back down at the other end, a great cross from the left flank found Wood unmarked at the far post, who cutely headed back across goal, but the ball ended safely in the keeper’s arms.
On twenty-six minutes, Mike Smith bravely leapt to challenge Garstang striker Alan Coar for a high cross and they clashed heads with some force, leaving both stricken and requiring lengthy treatment, and being substituted.
Smith left the field following the unusual sight of a glass of milk being taken onto the pitch, the keeper having lost a tooth in the challenge. It was later confirmed that Mike had also broken his jaw and we all wish him a speedy recovery.
Alan Coar also had to have temporary stitches in the back of his head, and he also required hospital treatment. Again, we wish him well and a swift recovery.
The game restarted after a seven-minute delay with Jacob Holt in net for Heys and Paul Socha coming on.
Within a minute, Holt made a fine one handed save from an excellent free-kick from Garstang’s Billy McKenna.
Heys were pushed onto the back foot, but a lung busting run from Danny White provided the next opening, though he failed to make a clean connection on his cross and the ball cleared the waiting Heys attackers in the penalty area.
Garstang were having the better of the play, only a long ball for Lee Grimshaw to chase providing any respite, but on forty-three minutes, Heys doubled their lead and it was that man Shawcross who got his second of the afternoon
Danny White played in a clever low free-kick from the left flank, and the Heys winger nipped in to convert with aplomb.
A minute before half-time, another fine save from Holt, tipping over a powerful shot, gave Garstang a corner but he couldn’t do anything to stop Garstang centre-half Josh Westwood heading powerfully home when unmarked from the corner.
As the second started, the players were clearly feeling the effects of the hot weather, with referee Matt McQuillan sensibly allowing regular water breaks throughout.
Four minutes in, Danny White was forced to leave the pitch for treatment as the visitors got themselves back on the front foot.
Just before the hour mark, Danny White was replaced by young prospect Connor Smith with Garstang still pressing, but for all their efforts, the visitors will be disappointed not to have tested Holt more often.
Shawcross then worked himself free on the left before advancing on goal, but Kitchen saved well with his feet.
Grimshaw hurt himself and required treatment when challenging the Garstang ‘keeper for a long-ball, and was possibly a little fortunate not to be cautioned for clipping Kitchen as they both chased the ball down.
On sixty-six minutes, the best move of the game came from Garstang, Daniel Birch clipped a neat ball through for Shaun Sailor to race into space on Heys left flank, his fine cross was met cleanly by McKenna, but he somehow directed his header wide of the far post. A great chance spurned.
Holt made another smart save before Garstang’s Philip Nagy headed another great chance wide and it looked like Heys might need another goal to secure the win
A gilt-edged chance on seventy-four minutes when Heys found themselves three on two with the Garstang goal in their sights, but with Max White looking to set a team mate free, he under-hit his pass to Grimshaw.
The Heys midfielder made up for it seven minutes later when his quick thinking saw him play a quick free-kick to Socha. He advanced on Kitchen, whose challenge made contact with Socha as his effort went over, the referee awarding a penalty to Heys and booking the keeper. Max White then calmly converted to make it 3-1.
With time ticking down, and a pitch full of tired legs, the game became stretched and more open as the final whistle approached, and Heys wrapped up the game with their fourth.
Substitute James Wolfenden worked hard on the right before squaring the ball and Shawcross showed great strength to tap home and clinch his first hat-trick for Heys to cap a fine individual performance.
There was still time for Garstang substitute Jonathan Hothersall to find himself one-on-one with stand-in ‘keeper Holt, but Jacob again denied the visitors.