This game was switched from a waterlogged Adie Moran Park to the 4G at Failsworth to ensure a match went ahead. Prestwich though were missing four of their regular squad but despite this put in a stirring performance and could easily have come away with at least a draw.
In a rip roaring end to end game in which both sides pushed hard to gain the upper hand it was Prestwich who had the better start in terms of chances. On 5 minutes Sean Haslam was set free down the left of the box but under pressure from a defender and keeper pulled his left foot shot across the face and wide of the post.
Four minutes later he did not make the same mistake when a slide rule pass from Sam Smith put him in behind and outpacing the defender he fired into the bottom corner for 1–0.
The game continued at a fierce pace and Failsworth pressed hard for an equaliser but were held in check by the Prestwich back four of Steve Lorenzini, Sam Holden, Stefan Rapacz and James Barlow with Mike Hudson in goal not having a shot to save.
Prestwich were also a constant threat through Haslam and Mike Neary especially, the latter having a couple of chances that came to nothing and Callum Pragnell and Matthew Brennan both having efforts saved by the keeper.
With an off colour Dillan White struggling to impact the game but trying very hard, Prestwich were relying on the right wing threat of Neary to penetrate the Failsworth back line in wide areas.
Disaster then struck in the 27th minute when a loose ball in midfield gave Failsworth the chance to play a ball behind the defence. Their quick and mobile forward outpaced Holden, aided by a favourable bounce, and passed the ball into the corner beyond the advancing Hudson for the equaliser.
Chances came and went at both ends but Hudson still had not had a save to make when on 42 minutes another loose ball in midfield gave Failsworth’s best player the space to push forward, find a yard at the edge of the box, and rifle an unstoppable shot into the top corner to give them an unlikely half time lead.
The second half continued in the same vein with both sides creating and missing chances but Failsworth playing the neater football with some quick accurate passing which constantly caused the Prestwich defence problems.
At the other end Haslam and Neary were still giving their defence lots to think about, Haslam had a shot deflected just wide of the post and Neary had efforts blocked by defenders.
Typically when it seemed Prestwich may get back on terms they fell further behind. On 62 minutes a raid down the Failsworth right looked to have been repulsed but the ball was crossed in from deep and found a forward free on the back post and he gratefully fired into the roof of the net for 3–1.
This heralded Prestwich changes with Craig French and Rafael Straszewski replacing the shattered White and Barlow on 63 minutes.
Two minutes later and Prestwich were back in the game, Lorenzini sent Neary scampering down the right wing and in behind the defence. He put in a perfect low cross which Haslam met at the far post and notched his and Prestwich’s second on 65 minutes.
The cat and mouse game continued with the teams trading chances, Failsworth grazed the bar with a cross that deceived Hudson and went away to safety and at the other end Holden had a great chance from a corner which he headed over but perhaps should have scored.
Then disaster struck again with another quick raid down the right, a ball into the box was intelligently back heeled into the path of an advancing midfield player who gave Hudson no chance from 15 yards for 4–2 on 75 minutes.
Prestwich though were not about to give up and kept pushing forward at every opportunity, Straszewski cutting in from the left fizzed a shot just wide of the far post and had another deflected into the arms of the keeper.
Haslam shot just over the bar after turning his man on the edge of the box when perhaps he could have set up Neary who was free on the right of the box.
After 83 minutes the pressure told when Barlow, back on for the limping Smith, overlapped down the left wing and put in a delicious low cross that Brennan met at the near post for 4–3. This set up a frantic last few minutes and Prestwich set about getting the equaliser they so richly deserved.
Lorenzini, having moved into midfield, had a twenty yarder curl just a bit too much to find the inside of the net and other efforts were also off target.
The defining moment came with only two minutes on the clock when Pragnell played an astute ball into Haslam who was about to shoot and certainly score from 8 yards, when a defender produced one of the best goal saving tackles seen for years, to deny him what would surely have been his second hat trick in two games and deny Prestwich the point their efforts warranted.
This, however, was not to be and for the third time this season they have lost away to a top 3 side in the division but come away with their heads held high.
Next up is another tough away trip to play Standish St Wilfrid’s in the LFA Amateur Cup 3rd Round on 02/11/19 with a 2.00 KO.