This encounter proved to be a bridge too far for a Prestwich team sporting nine changes from the team that played the first game two and a half weeks ago.
Overall, the efforts made by the team were commendable, but the rustiness and level of fitness were essentially the difference between the sides. Old Bolts were quicker to the ball and more organized and though they deserved their win Prestwich could have taken something from the game had they taken some of the chances they created.
Prestwich started well pressing Old Bolts into their own half but without really threatening to score. Old Bolts were quick on the break and their accurate passing started to cause problems for the Prestwich defence.
Then on 12 minutes a break down the Prestwich left resulted in a pulled back pass which was struck well by a forward, half blocked by a defender but still found its way into the bottom corner for 1–0.
Prestwich responded and took the game to Old Bolts once again with Sam Holden firing at the keeper and several other efforts going wide or over the bar. Old Bolts were always a threat with fast breaks and an effort midway through the half from the edge of the box just cleared the crossbar.
The best chance for Prestwich was when new signing Stephen Charles broke clear and went one on one with keeper who closed him down quickly and saved his effort which was then cleared.
Then to add insult to injury on 45 minutes with almost the last action of the half another attack down the Prestwich left saw another cut back pass dispatched into the bottom corner with keeper Mike Hudson stranded and possibly unsighted for 2–0, which was the half time score.
Prestwich started the second half on the front foot to try and get back into the game, several chances came and went with all being aimed straight at the Bolts keeper. However, the pattern of the game remained the same with Old Bolts continuing to threaten especially down the wings and so it proved once again when a break down the Prestwich left saw the Bolts winger with too much time and space. He fired in an excellent cross which was met forcefully on the six yard box for a power headed third in the 59th minute to deflate the Prestwich lads.
But to their credit they continued to work hard to get back in the game and were perhaps unlucky not to get some reward. First Barrie Campbell powered in a header from a free kick which the keeper saved brilliantly, the rebound being cleared before a Prestwich foot could put it in the net. Then sub – David Wheaton couldn’t quite sort his feet out when the ball dropped at the far post but forced another good save from the keeper.
A few minutes later Charles had a shot from the edge of the box that looked goal bound but veered just beyond the post with the keeper beaten. A Prestwich free kick from the edge of the box was put over the bar in the dying minutes but the game ended with Old Bolts content to keep what they had.
Next up Prestwich head to Whitworth Valley on Saturday 4th September 2.30pm KO (Rawstron Street, OL12 8BA) for what will be another tough game.
OLD BOLTS v PRESTWICH GALLERY
By Leo Michaelovitz