Prestwich came out on the wrong side of the five-goal thriller at Mytham Road.
After a tight early opening, Little Lever were awarded a penalty after a flurry of Prestwich mistakes. Deputy keeper Alex Blake made a super stop from 12 yards to keep Prestwich level. Ten minutes later though, Little Lever made no mistake from the spot after Prestwich were caught on the ball at the back and from the resulting counter, Lester hauled down the Little Lever forward.
Prestwich felt aggrieved to be behind having started to dominate the game and play some lovely football. Wheaton was everywhere in the first half, having a flying diving header parried and would narrowly miss from a tight angle later in the first period. Bailey was proving to be a find in central midfield, Prestwich were on top. Steven Charles would unfortunately miss a one-on-one opportunity before Lewis Smith finally put Prestwich on level terms just before the break with a low drive from 15 yards.
In truth, it had been Prestwich’s best 45 minutes of the season. And a similar pattern emerged after the break. Smith was proving a ball magnet in a more advanced role and Prestwich were creating on a regular basis. Finally, on the hour Prestwich had the lead. Charles hit a superb curling effort to give Prestwich the advantage.
The visitors were then hit by a flurry of injuries in what could have been no more than a five- minute period. Smith, Rapacz and Barlow all had to leave the field. Rapacz and Gibson had been in total command at centre back with Barlow also having a fine game at full back. The reshuffle disrupted Prestwich’s momentum. Charles then pinged a hamstring and Prestwich were suddenly on the ropes. Tiring and hit by injuries, the visitors were pegged back when Little Lever levelled with 15 minutes left with a superb driven finish on a counter attack.
The game was now wide open on a heavy surface. But the openness favoured the hosts who looked by far the fresher at this point. After missing a series of chances, Little Lever took the lead inside the final ten minutes.
It was cruel for Prestwich who had been the superior side for 65 minutes but Little Lever showed great spirit to keep going and ultimately outlast Prestwich.