Although scheduled as a home game this match was played at Tower Street the home of Old Bolts.
This was Prestwich’s first win in the Premier Divisional Cup arranged by the LAL in place of completing the regular season and what a game it was putting paid to any thoughts this competition was an end of season dead rubber. In an exhibition of excellent amateur football both sides can take great credit for serving up 90 minutes of entertainment that was a superb advertisement for the standard of the LAL Premier Division.
With the weather largely playing its part by staying fine throughout, the game was played at a frenetic pace especially in the first half with the sides trading blows in search of the first goal. Overall Prestwich perhaps had more control in the game but both sides had chances in the first 20 minutes but neither keeper had a serious save to make.
This changed on 24 minutes when Prestwich broke down the left and an accurate cross found Martin Hill in the box and he finished well, under pressure from the keeper, to give Prestwich the lead. This general control on the game continued with the better chances falling to Prestwich until a mad 4 minutes turned the game on its head.
Firstly a counter attack by Old Bolts resulted in some pinball in the box with the ball falling kindly to a Bolts player 15 yards out and he finished with aplomb into the bottom corner on 42 minutes to equalise. It then got worse 2 minutes later when another break away attack caught Prestwich short on cover at the back and a cross into the box was expertly volleyed home in almost a carbon copy of the equaliser to give them a totally unexpected lead at the interval. Prestwich could certainly feel aggrieved to go into the break on the wrong end of the score line having had most of the game for 40 minutes.
The second half started at the same pace as the first and with largely the same profile with Prestwich dominating most of the possession and causing the Bolts defence no end of problems. This pressure seemed to have paid off after 50 minutes when a jinking run into the box by Tito Miguel was ended by a scything tackle that resulted in a penalty. Unfortunately the said Tito struck the underside of the bar with his fiercely hit penalty and was unlucky that it hit the keeper on its way down and he managed to smother the ball and clear.
Another Miguel run 5 minutes later saw him dart between defenders and in on goal before another strong challenge in the box ended his attempt and saw him limp off to be replaced by Sam Holden. He later returned to continue tormenting the Bolts defence until late in the game.
Although Bolts had a few half chances and a goal disallowed for offside they were struggling to really hurt Prestwich, who in their turn were creating chance after chance.
They finally got the reward their efforts deserved on 65 minutes when Milkiya Ghebremariam chased a ball down the left wing, cut inside the full back and fired a crisp shot in at the near post catching the keeper out completely, to square the game at 2 – 2. The see-saw pattern of the game continued but the pace began to slow a little and more spaces were opening up. Old Bolts had a few efforts high or wide but nothing on target, while Prestwich had some shots blocked in the box and a free kick was just over.
In the end it was Prestwich who prevailed when again Ghebremariam got down the left in lots of space, worked his way into the box and from a tight angle placed a left foot shot into the far corner giving the keeper no chance to save giving Prestwich an deserved 83rd minute lead.
The last few minutes and injury time saw Old Bolts make a desperate effort to save the game and they came very close to doing it with almost the last kick of the game when a cross from the left wing was met in the box, the attempt hitting the foot of the near post allowing the Prestwich defence to clear and preserve their hard won lead. Seconds later the whistle went ending a terrific match and a stirring and impressive performance from the Prestwich team who all played a massive part in this first victory in the group.
Next up is an away game against AFC Darwen Reserves at The Anchor Ground with a 12.30 pm KO on Saturday 15/05/21.