PRESTWICH Heys overcame the shock of going behind in the opening minute to defeat Old Alts 3-2 at Adie Moran Park and go top of the Manchester League Premier Division table.

Although Heys only performed well in patches they deservedly emerged victorious but were made to battle all the way against a well drilled and at times lively Old Alts side.

The visitors have had some encouraging results of late and opened confidently, rocking Heys with a first-minute strike.

As Heys struggled for possession the ball broke to Joe Halfpenny who scored a 25-yard shot.

The goal added to the visitor’s confidence as their hard work and defensive discipline disrupted Heys attempts at gaining a foothold in the game.

Although John Blackley headed wide from a Max White free kick, Heys found it hard to find any real momentum in the opening stages.

To their credit though, there was no pressing of the panic button from Heys who continued to play their football and as the half progressed they began to stretch the Alts defence.

However, despite almost total possession they never looked like scoring until they did so in the 40th minute. From a deep White centre, Blackley headed back across goal where a close range Jamie Baguley header brought Heys level.

As so often happens when a team’s resistance is broken Heys hit Alts with a second goal three minutes later.

White released Jon Stephenson who burst into the box before drilling a low shot into the bottom corner.

Heys maintained the momentum after the break, playing with more intent, Alts keeper Mark Higgs blocked at close range to thwart Erike Sousa and then had to be sharp getting down to hold a Greg Wills shot.

The pressure finally told in the 57th minute with Heys increasing their lead.

After good work by Lee Bruce he laid the ball into the path of Sousa who finished with a super, curling shot into the far corner.

The scene seemed set for a comfortable win, however, Alts refused to throw in the towel and got themselves back into the game in the 67th minute from a Dave Drinkwater header.

It led to change in the pattern of the game with the visitors enjoying a good spell of possession to put the Heys defence under pressure.

Heys were able to absorb their attacks without too much trouble and began to get forward themselves. A White free kick fizzed past the post, whilst Higgs denied Bruce at close range as Heys saw the game out with relative comfort. Defeats for Royton and Hindsford saw Heys go a point clear of Springhead at the top.

On Saturday, Heys face a tough trip to fourth-placed AFC Monton, kick off 2pm.

n Heys Reserves are six points clear at the top of the table after a 9-1 win at East Manchester. Hat-tricks for Chris Quirk, Ryan Cain and further strikes from Steve Charles, Abid Uddin and an own goal completed the rout.

They host AFC Monton Reserves on Saturday at Adie Moran Park 2pm.