10:00am Thursday 14th November 2013
By Stephen Howard
PRESTWICH Heys are preparing for their biggest cup match in recent years against Southport Trinity in the quarter-final of the Lancashire Amateur Shield at Grimshaw Park on Saturday (1.30pm).
Not since reaching the semi-finals in 2006 have Heys gone as far in the competition and the run that year saw them drawn away in every round, thus making this weekend’s tie the biggest cup game the town has seen for many years.
Heys have found themselves on the road in this year’s competition, too, with Saturday’s match being their first home tie.
They triumphed on penalties at Liverpool side Collegiate Old Boys after a 3-3 draw in the first round before then grabbing a last-gasp 4-3 win at Slyne with Hest in the next round.
The third round took Heys to Burnley United where they emerged from a psychical encounter with a 2-1 victory to book their last-eight slot.
Southport play in the West Cheshire League First Division where they currently sit fourth from bottom with 11 points from 13 games.
However, their cup form has been impressive with an away win at Lostock in the first round followed by a 2-1 home win over one of the pre-tournament favourites Longridge, who knocked Heys out last year, at the second stage.
Trinity then booked their last-eight place with a home penalty shootout win over CMB Sports after a 1-1 draw.
Heys will have to be wary of their leading scorer Tommy Hughes, whose lightning pace has helped him score nine goals so far this season, and the midfield threat of former Fleetwood player Danny Ventre.
For their part, Jon Lyons’ side go into the game in good shape. Only one defeat in the last 10 games, eight of which have been away, has seen Heys tuck in behind the leaders of the Manchester League Premier Division and also book a last-eight berth in the Gilgryst Cup.
Aside from long-term absentees Damien Rooney and Marvin Walters, the Heys boss should have a full squad to choose from.
A midday storm caused the postponement of both Heys’ first-team and reserve games last Saturday.
A mixture of torrential rain, hail and snow saw the games at Dukinfield and Grimshaw Park called off despite the pitches at both venues being playable earlier in the day.
The Heys team actually set off and arrived at Dukinfield to find the game had been postponed.
However, it came as little surprise as they endured horrendous driving conditions, including snowfall, on the way down.
At Grimshaw Park, the referee called the game off 20 minutes before kick off.
The pitch was borderline playable despite the midday deluge but the official took the sensible view that, with rain still falling, it was possible the game would not be completed.
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