Prestwich FC 0-3 Mostonians
An injury ravaged Prestwich squad put up a valiant fight against a powerful Mostonians outfit before finally succumbing to relentless second half pressure in the 77nd minute, the visitors going on to score two more in the dying minutes as Prestwich committed men forward in search of an equaliser.
The game had been fiercely contested from the start with both defences on top, indeed despite the ultimate outcome Prestwich’s back line of Steve Lorenzini, James Barlow, Richard Steadman and Luke Harling in particular can take great pride from their performances.
With very few clear cut chances for either side it was looking very much like one goal would decide it. Indeed Prestwich came closest to taking the lead when one delightful move down the right between Mike Neary and Sean Haslam saw a wicked ball driven in that Sam Holden met emphatically at the back post but just fired over the bar.
The tide began to turn slowly after the half hour mark with last seasons champions growing in ascendency, and having done nothing since the Christmas break the Prestwich boys were visibly tiring, but they managed to keep it level at the break.
The theme continued in the second period with Prestwich by now pretty much settling on digging in and scrapping like mad just to get something out of the game. The visitors continued to ramp up the pressure with every passing minute but Prestwich were defending brilliantly bravely throwing bodies in the way of shots and tackling ferociously.
Whilst the pressure was intensifying Prestwich were still making sporadic counter attacks, mainly through Neary and Haslam, but with Matty Brennan bursting through from deep as well, and they were still in with a chance of all three points.
In the end Mostonians quality and greater strength in depth told with the late introduction of a striker who had hit four past the same opponents on his last visit to Hopwood, on 77 mins their impressive right winger who had otherwise been well policed by Barlow found some space to wriggle past Barlow and another defender to drive across goal for the sub striker to smash home from close range.
To their credit Prestwich dug in and pushed players forward to try and salvage something but the visitors exploited the new found space at the back and capitalised with two more goals right at the death.