Steeton 0

Prestwich Heys 3

PRESTWICH Heys deservedly left Cougar Park with all three points after a disappointing performance from the home side in this Hallmark Security League Division One North clash.

Recent games had shown some improvement for Roy Mason’s young Steeton side, particularly defensively, but all seemed forgotten as the visitors punished multiple mistakes and a general lack of concentration and imagination throughout.

In a game of few highlights for the home side, new signing Luke Baldwin, starting the game on the left side of midfield, offered a glimpse of good things to come. Possessing a decent first touch and quick feet, his first-half performance was full of energy and endeavour. And while the energy seemed to go from his game in the second half that was perhaps more of a reflection of the team as a whole than his individual input.

In fact, there were aspects of the team’s first-half performance that, for a while at least, indicated that they might get something from the game.

After a cagey opening period with both team’s defences on top, it was the visitors that opened the scoring in the 20th minute. William Shawcross, a lively presence on the left-side throughout the game, cut inside Joe Mason at right-back and fired a low shot from just inside the box that Fletcher Paley in goal for the home side had little chance of stopping.

Just after the goal, the game was stopped for several minutes as the referee appeared to pull a hamstring and hobbled off. He was replaced by one of the linesmen and a call was put out across the tannoy for a replacement linesman. When no-one from the 100+ crowd came forward, the responsibility fell to one of Prestwich’s substitutes who gamely volunteered.

Following the halt in proceedings Steeton enjoyed their best spell of the game, with Steve Pearson starting a couple of moves from the back that resulted in opportunities.

On one occasion he broke from defence, beat two Prestwich midfielders, before feeding Clarkson on the left. The young striker’s in-swinging cross was a beauty and was almost converted by Freddie Maddocks arriving late at the far post.

That was as good as it got for Steeton. Just before half-time an injury to Andy Briggs forced a change up front with Aaron Hollindrake brought on in his place. The club’s top scorer appeared to have hurt his wrist and a visit to hospital later revealed two broken bones in his hand which required surgery the following day.

Steeton offered little in the second half and Prestwich grew in confidence as conditions worsened, the pitch becoming slippy as the rain fell. Time and time again they switched the play quickly and found space down the flanks.

With the home side's full backs consistently under the cosh, the pressure eventually told. Cory Knight was first to a corner, his header looping over Paley from inside the 18-yard box, to double the visitor’s lead.

Mason made changes to try and wrestle something from the game but by then the die had been cast and as the game entered the final 15 minutes the wheels began to fall off for the Chevrons.

With five minutes remaining, Knight bagged his second for Prestwich with a run into the box and a chip over the advancing keeper. It was a result of sloppy work from Steeton, who collectively failed to pick up the run and were static as the goalscorer broke the defensive lines.

All-in-all a bad day at the office for Steeton during which they offered little threat going forward and were undone by a lack of concentration.

Steeton: Paley, Mason (Holden, 69), Scott (Morgan, 82), Rooke, Pearson (c), Baldwin, Jeffrey, Rawcliffe, Briggs (Hollindrake, 45), Clarkson, Maddox