Prestwich had a dramatic last minute equalizer from Richard Steadman (pictured) to thank for gaining a precious point out of this game, but how they didn’t come away with all three will always remain a mystery given their total dominance in this game for all but a five minute spell after the hosts took a surprise lead on 20 mins.
With several key players missing again but promising new signing Jordan Belston making his debut Prestwich showed up strongly from the start, and with Steve Lorenzini and Sam Holden taking a grip on the deep central midfield areas Belston, Mike Neary and Sean Haslam supported by Matty Brennan were given a platform from which to terrorize the home defence.
Playing some delightful football on what wasn’t the best playing surface chances soon began to come. With Belston and Neary playing on the opposite wings of what would seem natural, the left footed Belston on the right and vica versa with Mike Neary each carved out several opportunities to cut inside for shots but neither managing to get clean enough strikes to trouble the hosts keeper unduly.
Brennan linked up neatly with Belston on the right to skim an excellent ball across the face of goal but Haslam and Neary just failed to get on the end of it. Left back Stefan Rapacz joined in the fun with several overlaps putting some quality crosses in but again nobody could get on the end of them.
With a Prestwich goal looking more and more inevitable the hosts took the lead when on a rare attack a half clearance bounced at the feet of a striker some 35 yards out, he showed excellent technique to smash it on the half volley past the despairing hands of keeper Mike Hudson into the top corner.
Buoyed by the goal the hosts briefly came into the ascendency but the Prestwich back line of the Rapacz brothers, Ross Salmon and Steadman were dealing authoritatively with everything that came their way and Prestwich soon regained their earlier momentum.
Belston repeatedly dropped his shoulder to get round his man on the inside to put several looping balls into the box, but whilst lacking any real cutting edge up front Blacks had a experienced well organized back line and were dominant in the air. If the defenders didn’t clear it their classy keeper was claiming things confidently, so despite being very much on the front foot Prestwich weren’t really making the keeper work enough and it wasn’t until the 40th minute that a low drive by Neary caused any real problems, and so it remained 1-0 at the interval.
Having dominated possession in the first half Prestwich took total control in an all-out assault on the Blacks goal throughout the second, this time creating really clear cut chances. The pressure on the Blacks goal simply built up as the minutes ticked by but a combination of some tremendous goalkeeping, heroic defending and pure luck of the bounce saw them hold on to their lead.
Prestwich struck the bar three times, first through Belston from an acute angle on the left, then Neary from the edge of the box, and agonizingly through Stefan Rapacz when a cracking half volley that looked a certain goal was denied by a defender bravely hurling his body in the way of it to just get enough contact to divert it on to the bar.
As Prestwich committed more and more men forward in their frenzied efforts to equalise they did leave themselves open on occasions and Blacks did have a few chances to kill the game off, but Hudson, Salmon and Krzysztof Rapacz managed to make some timely interventions.
With hope and time running out it looked like it was going to be one of those days when in the last minute Lorenzini played a delightful one two with Haslam on the left hand edge of the Blacks box to play a low cross into the box, Belstons attempt to back heel it into goal only served to help it it’s way to Steadman who’d timed his run from the right back spot perfectly to smash it home from close range and salvage that point.