Prestwich 1-4 Failsworth dynamos
Prestwich 1-1 Old Boltonians
Another mixed week for the club saw a severely depleted squad put in an abject performance in the midweek fixture against an ebullient Failsworth side and then a completely contrasting performance very unlucky not to get all three points against a powerful Old Bolts outfit at the weekend.
The Failsworth efforts were poor from start to finish with Failsworth first to every ball and looking sharper all over the pitch out passing and outplaying the hosts throughout, yet despite going two down a Ross Salmon goal on 40 mins left Prestwich still in the game at the interval.
The hoped for revival never quite materialised, Prestwich did look much brighter as an attacking force particularly in the form of Martin Hill, Pete Gallagher, and Darren Buckley, who emerged as the three who appeared to have any real desire to try and get something out of the game.
But it wasn’t to be and Failsworth continued to cut through the Prestwich ranks with regular incisive counters and the only surprise really was that they only managed to add another two to their tally for the game to finish 1-4.
The weekend fixture against an Old Bolts side still in with a chance of winning the league saw a complete reverse. The squad saw the return of the much missed Mike Neary, the Rapacz brothers, Aldair Victorano, Tito Miguel, Rick Walker and a debut for Baz Campbell .
It made a hell of difference, having ridden out an early onslaught by a confident Bolts side in which Prestwich had to be grateful for some strong defending and authoritative goal keeping by Nathan Williams commanding his area very well, Prestwich gradually turned the tide.
Miguel, Walker and Neary in particular started to cut through the Bolts defence like a knife through butter at times and chances came thick and fast. Unfortunately for Prestwich Bolts’s keeper is amongst their best players and he was on his toes saving a series of shots and handling crosses really well.
On 20 mins Miguel wriggled his way through to get clear on goal only to be crudely scythed down, the defender very lucky only to receive a booking for the offence. Walker, Sean Haslam, Victorano and Miguel all went close but it was looking like any goal may well come from a set piece through Campbell who frequently outjumped the Bolts defence to get on the end of several corners and free kicks.
Neary made a superb run down the right before cutting in across the box to fire tamely at the keeper with his weaker left foot but the Bolts goal stayed intact and it remained 0-0 at the break.
It was a matter of time though and two minutes after the resumption Miguel scored a brilliant solo goal. As in the first period Bolts began pressing high up the pitch, with everyone up in the Prestwich half Miguel who wins a ridiculous amount of such duels for one so slight charged down a defender and saw the ball break in front of him just inside the Bolts half. He raced toward the Bolts goal staying ahead of the retreating Bolts defenders to keep his cool and stroke it past the keeper for 1-0.
With anything but a win likely to prove devastating to their title challenge Bolts set about Prestwich, changing shape and personnel in an all out assault on the Prestwich goal. Prestwich were defending really well though Richard Steadman, Campbell, and both Rapacz’s (Krzysztof and Stefan) constantly heading the barrage of high balls away.
As the half wore on Bolts started to run out of ideas and one sensed that if anything Prestwich would get another goal as they continued to look dangerous on the counter creating clearer goals scoring chances then the visitors.
Bolts never gave up though and on 80 mins they were a awarded a very dubious penalty, a tiring Campbell committed a foul, the initial contact some two yards outside the box but the player delayed his fall theatrically just enough to get himself into the box.
The penalty duly despatched Prestwich re-asserted themselves and spent the remaining minutes launching waves of attacks on the Bolts goal, Victorano cut in from the left beating several player but couldn’t quite make a solid connection with the shot, Rick Walker was desperately unlucky hooking the ball on to the cross bar with the keeper stranded and firing just over following a cracking move between Haslam, Miguel and himself.
And then right at the death another great move saw Walker float a shot just over the bar and it remained level at the finish.