Prestwich kicked off 2022 by picking up three points in a ding-dong affair with Old Mancunians at Hopwood Hall.
On a very difficult surface, Prestwich fell behind early when sweeper keeper Hudson was beaten by the unpredictable bouncing ball allowing the Mancunians forward to score from an acute angle. Prestwich were soon level when forward Steven Charles got in behind the visitors back line and slotted home clinically.
The first half was an even affair but Mancunians took the lead again with an almost impossible angled header from 15 yards. The powerhouse centre forward for Mancunians angled in a brilliant header from a set piece, heading back across his body into the top corner. Prestwich responded again before half time. It was a sweet moment for the returning Neary who tucked home from the penalty spot following a hand ball. Neary had been sorely missed for Prestwich following his broken leg in April of 2021, so it was footballing justice to see the long-time stalwart thrash home the spot kick following his absence.
Prestwich had not played for 5 weeks and it started to show in the second half with the visitors having more energy, benefitting from 90 minutes under their belts last week. Still, Prestwich took the lead shortly after the break after another sublime finish from marksman Charles. The general flow of the game had changed after the break though, and on the testing surface Mancunians began to dominate with their physical front line.
Boss Lorenzini made a triple change on the hour to try and combat Mancunians attacking flow. In the final third of the game, the hosts were forced to dig deep to fend off Mancunians advances. Hudson superbly tipped an effort onto the bar and the centre back pairing of Gibson and Steadman stood firm. On a terrible surface, Prestwich had to replace Barlow and Steadman late on as the heavy conditions started to take toll.
In stoppage time, Lewis Smith, who by this point was exhausted, opted to hit a thirty-yard strike with the outside of his foot. The decision was surely driven by not being able to carry the ball another yard, but it has to be said Smith delivered a moment of quality here smashing into the roof of the net to seal the points.
Prestwich visit Little Lever next week. Kick off at Mytham Road, BL3 1JE is at 2pm.