With the frost having kindly come out of the ground, this match was a return to action for both teams after a very stop-start season in terms of playing games. This was reflected in the early exchanges with both sides having trouble gaining full control of the ball on a rather bobbly surface.
Roach made most of the early running and forced a sequence of corners before opening the scoring from one of them as the ball was headed back the way it had come and despite a Prestwich head getting the ball clear it was rightly adjudged to have crossed the line, giving them a 6th minute lead.
Slowly Prestwich began to show signs of coming to life and two chances went begging when David Prieto didn’t get the right connection to balls crossed from the right wing by Sean Haslam and them Daniel Ingham. After a scrappy first 20 minutes Prestwich started to dominate the game and were rewarded on 32 minutes when Ingham produced another quality ball into the box which Prieto put away with aplomb for 1 – 1. Manager Mike Kosub then rang the changes introducing Dave Thompson, Ross Salmon and Aldair Victorano for Haslam, Ingham and Prieto shortly after.
Fortunately this did not disrupt the general pattern of the game too much but Prestwich were unable to add to their tally before half time. The second half was largely dominated by Prestwich in terms of possession with Roach restricted to a few breaks here and there without creating a clear cut chance in the whole half.
Prestwich had continued to press and create problems for the Roach defence and were eventually rewarded when Darren Buckley challenging in the box attempted to hook the ball into the danger area only for a Roach defender to handle the ball. Thompson stepped up to take responsibility for the resulting penalty and drilled the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the goal in the 58th minute.
With roll on roll off being the norm this season Prestwich reintroduced Prieto and Haslam for Paul Taylor and Thompson in the 65th minute. This added a bit more thrust to the Prestwich attack as Martin Hill was moved to the right wing and Salmon moved to centre half.
With the extra pace now up front Prestwich began to create more and more opportunities and with a better final ball on many occasions could have scored freely. As it was a foul just outside the box on 69 minutes gave Prestwich their third goal from a terrifically struck free kick from Mike Neary which thundered against the crossbar went up in the air, came straight down deceiving the keeper and spun into the goal. Perhaps a touch fortunate but no more than Prestwich deserved.
From then on in it was a case of whether Prestwich could extend their lead as some of the fight had drained out of Roach with what they probably thought were 2 pieces of bad luck. Prestwich became more fluent going forward and should have had more than the 2 more goals from Haslam(85) and Victorano (89) both profiting from good play by Prieto on the right side of midfield. Ingham came back on for a cameo role replacing Martin Hill on 86 minutes to conclude what had been an extremely good effort from all 14 players after a rather shaky start.
Next up for Prestwich is a trip to Old Boltonians FC who head the table at present, if the big freeze allows play on 03/03/18.