Thurs 5th April – Old Boltonians 1-1 Prestwich
Prestwich visited the home of what was then the league leaders with a severely depleted squad and put on a tremendous show of spirit and unity to come away with one point that could so easily had been three had hosts not managed to grab an equaliser two minutes before full time.
Having survived an early scare when a header from a corner smacked against a post Prestwich settled into the game and started to play the better football. With Sean Haslam doing a great job leading the line some delightful link up play between him Tito Muguel, Martin Hill and Mike Kirkley saw chance start to come thick and fast.
One great flowing move down the left saw the ball land at the feet of Kieran Comiskey arriving late some 10 yards out but he was just unable to keep his shot down. Haslam himself was unlucky on several occasions as the ball pinged around the Old Bolts box not quite managing to readjust quickly enough to get a telling shot in, Hill also carved out a few chances for himself with great penetrating runs but lacked power with the shots and it remained scoreless at the interval.
Prestwich came out strongly on the resumption and scored a brilliantly crafted goal on the hour, Hill burst through on the right and fed Haslam wide just outside the right hand edge of the box, he squared it to Miguel who’d timed his run to perfection to fire home from 6 yards. On 70 mins Haslam so very nearly made it two with a delightfully struck free kick that seemed destined for the top right corner but Bolts keeper pulled off a tremendous save to tip it over.
The Prestwich boys started to tire visibly in the final stages and Bolts desperate for the points the big powerful Bolts side launched an all out assault on the Prestwich goal. Time and time again high balls were launched into the box but the rear guard of keeper Mike Hudson, Richard Steadman, Luke Harling, Chris Adams and Mike Neary stood tall bravely throwing themselves into headers and tackles.
The pressure grew and grew though and as legs tired Bolts got their reward when a long ball picked out the right winger who jinked past Adams to square for a close range finish to draw level for a share of the points.
Sat 7th April – Prestwich 1–4 Little Lever
With the heavy fixture list and Thursdays game at Bolton in particular really taking its toll an injury ridden squad never quite managed to match a highly impressive Lever side on the day.
The early exchanges were fairly even with both sides looking like they had a goal in them, Lever posing a huge threat in the form of their tricky left winger and powerful centre forward, the latter in particular was to go on and pull the Prestwich defence all over the place on the day.
Prestwich’s main threat was coming from the mercurial Andrew Dean, who’s marauding runs down the left wing posed a constant threat to the point where Lever designated an extra man to try and contain the threat.
Time and time again Dean put high and low crosses into the box with nobody quite alert enough to pounce on the end of it. Daniel Ingham had a glorious chance with a header but got right underneath it, Haslam had a couple of half chances and Stefan Rapacz blazed high wide and handsome with a decent chance.
The longer the half went the more one sensed the first goal would be crucial in this game, and it came on the half hour to Lever, the scorer reacting first by prodding a loose ball home in a congested six yard box scramble following a corner.
It remained 0-1 at the break.
Prestwich rejigged slightly to try and claw their way back into the game but as had been the case in the first half their play frequently was marred by a lack of cohesion due to far too many misplaced passes often conceding possession as quickly as they won it back.
Lever extended their lead on 53 minutes before Prestwich rallied with fine goal by Rapacz hooking a half clearance into the net past a stranded keeper from an acute angle some 20 yards out.
The anticipated comeback however was stalled in its tracks by and immediate response by Lever scoring a fine third and killer goal. Prestwich by now looked leaden legged and ragged and Lever added a smart 4th goal with 10 minutes to go to put the icing on a good performance by them and a lacklustre one by the hosts.