Prestwich faced another tough game after the midweek defeat at Old Boltonians but came away from this game with a well earned and deserved point after a 60th minute equaliser from new signing Stephen Charles.
Fielding a much changed side which included a completely new back four and two changes in midfield the game started with Prestwich trying to find their feet and settle into a rhythm.
This early tentativeness was to cost them when in the 4th minute a cross into the box was headed on by a forward and looped over the despairing dive of keeper Mike Hudson for 1–0.
Prestwich began to settle after this shock and had the greater possession without a real threat on goal.
Whitworth on the other hand were content to hit on the break and with a couple of nimble forwards were causing a few problems for the Prestwich defence. Hudson was forced into an excellent save at his near post following a break down the Prestwich left and later made another good save after a break down the right.
Overall though the defence was coping well and as Prestwich grew into the game chances started to come.
Charles had the first real effort on goal when he struck a vicious drive from 25 yards that the Whitworth keeper did well to save, and the rebound was cleared. Then the impressive Dylan Kane, making his debut at centre back was unlucky to steer his header over the bar following an excellent move down the right after a corner had been half cleared.
The game continued to ebb and flow with chances missed at both ends but good defending in all cases restricted clear cut chances for either team.
The half ended with Prestwich just about edging the last 15 minutes as their passing game slowly came together promising more reward after the break.
The start of the second half saw Prestwich continuing to dominate the game but Whitworth always had a threat on the counter but did not really create any serious chances until late on. Prestwich on the other hand were pressing to get back in the game and had a handful of half chances that were wasted.
Then in the 60th minute a through ball was collected by the hard working Charles who shrugged off a challenge by the centre half, cut back and placed an excellent shot into the far corner to give Prestwich the goal they deserved.
Galvanised by this Prestwich continued to push forward and create chances. Rafael Straszewski had a shot from the edge of the box that just cleared the bar and Charles had a great effort on the turn saved well by the keeper.
A few half chances were created but no other direct threat on goal ensued.
Whitworth did start to get more possession as the game moved into the final phase and as with Prestwich a few half chances came and went without product. Their best effort came in the last 10 minutes when they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box. This was well struck by their experienced No 4 and brought an excellent save from Hudson turning it away for a corner which came to nothing.
The match played out with no further serious threat on either goal allowing Prestwich to come away with their first league point ever from a game at Whitworth.
The game also marked a second appearance for eighteen year old Harvey Rhodes who came off the bench on 57 minutes to replace a cramp affected Matthew Cuthbert, who returned the favour for Dale Beaumont another cramp victim 15 minutes later.
The game was also notable for the second substitute appearance of ageing Paul Mercer who did everything in his power not to enter the field of play. In the end he wasn’t needed to get a point, but we may have missed out on yet another winning goal and another world beating 20 yard sprint!
Next up is an away game on Saturday 11th September against AFC Darwen Reserves at the Anchor Ground, Darwen BB3 0BB with a 2.30pm KO.
WHITWORTH VALLEY v PRESTWICH GALLERY
By Leo Michaelovitz