After another week when Prestwich were struggling to raise a side, the addition of several semi-retired players and a new signing allowed them to field a full, but not fully fit, squad.
In the end it was another disappointing result despite being ahead at half time, as Whitworth mounted a comeback that snatched the points in the last few minutes.
The game started, and continued throughout, with both sides getting forward at every opportunity and pressing the defences, both of which worked very hard to stifle clear cut chances.
Whitworth drew first blood in the 3rd minute when a good move down the Prestwich right culminated in a great pull back pass which was dispatched with ease for an early lead.
Prestwich pushed forward in search of an equalizer and the new combination of a returning Sean Haslam and Harvey Rhodes had the pace to trouble the Whitworth defence but without reward. That is until Haslam found a bit of space on the edge of the box and hit an excellent drive into the net with the keeper stranded to give Prestwich parity in the 17th minute.
Michael Hudson in the Prestwich net was called upon some minutes later to make a great save to keep Prestwich level after a flowing move by Whitworth. The ebb and flow nature of the game hardly missed a beat with chances at both ends created and missed, or well defended.
Then at the end of a Prestwich surge forward Rhodes chased a through ball into the box, got there first and was tripped by the Whitworth keeper for a clear penalty. Callum Pragnell stepped up to give Prestwich the lead from the spot on 30 minutes, a lead they held until half time. There was though time for Hudson to make another good save at his near post to preserve the lead.
Little changed with the pattern of the game in the second half with both sides creating chances but the defences holding firm. Several Prestwich corners found the head of Barrie Campbell, but none were good enough to provide him with a clear strike on goal.
At this point Prestwich were perhaps slightly on top but then in the 58th minute a long ball forward found the bulky but very useful Whitworth striker who played a superb pass in behind the Prestwich rear guard and found the well-timed run of a teammate who went through to make the score 2–2.
This lifted Whitworth and they pushed for a third bringing a couple of good saves out of Hudson in goal. Then another turning point occurred when an excellent Prestwich move found Haslam in the box and in on goal, but he was denied by an excellent save by the keeper with his feet. The rebound fell to Pragnell at the edge of the box, but his goal bound shot was cleared off the line by a defender and scrambled clear.
Some minutes later a move down the Whitworth right saw another chance go begging as Tito Miguel got in behind and his shot came back off the post via the keeper. Whitworth were always in the game and their tricky left winger had caused problems all through the game, no more so than in the 87th minute when he weaved his way into the box, escaped the attentions of 2 Prestwich defenders and slotted home the winning goal past a despairing Hudson.
So, it remained and was another cruel blow for a Prestwich side that did deserve something from the game. There is certainly no lack of effort and full credit must go to all the squad, but a major disadvantage week after week is that there are five or six changes each week and therefore no chance for players to get used to playing together.
Hopefully this will improve in the weeks to come and better results should follow.
Next up for Prestwich is another home game at Hopwood Hall on 16/10/21 v Little Lever SC with a 2pm KO.
PRESTWICH v WHITWORTH VALLEY GALLERY
By Leo Michaelovitz