WITH the recent rain decimating the amateur fixture list Prestwich FC took up the option to switch their home fixture against Rochdale St Clements Reserves to a 3G surface.

And while these games tend not to have the same feel of a game on grass, Prestwich played some neat football to gain three valuable points after running out 3-0 winners.

The only disappointment on a day that saw them move up fifth place in Division One of the Lancashire Amateur League was their failure to underline their dominance with more goals against the basement club.

Prestwich took a grip on the game from the first minute, dominating possession on the slick surface.

Steve Murty returned from injury on the left wing and in-form Mike Neary started on the right as the home side packed a really potent threat from both flanks.

Both Murty and Neary seemed to have the ability to go past players at will, giving Prestwich a nice attacking balance.

Having spurned several early chances, it came as no surprise when they took the lead on 14 minutes as a typical run by Murty saw him twist and turn at pace down the left to feed David Prieto.

Prestwich's Spanish maestro was 15 yards out when he received the ball and still had a couple of defenders between him and goal, but Prieto jinked left then right to make the space to bend a superb shot just inside the right-hand post, giving the unsighted keeper no chance.

There followed a frustrating period when it was perplexing how the game remained at 1-0, such was the number of chances created – Prieto, Murty, Neary and the normally so clinical Sean Haslam all missed golden opportunities to score.

As the temperature dropped towards freezing, Prestwich took the opportunity of new Lancashire Amateur League rules allowing rotating subs to keep the full 14-man squad active.

And just when they were starting to become frustrated at the number of missed chances another of the side's "international stars" provided the touch of class that was needed to ram home their superiority minutes after joining the fray on 38 minutes.

Flicking the ball over and round a couple of players, Belgian youngster Quentin Jacob threaded a perfectly weighted through-ball to put Neary in on goal, and he kept his composure to finish neatly low and hard past the keeper to make it 2-0 before half time.

The pattern continued into the second half with Prestwich dominant but spurning chances, although there was a brief casual spell that saw Rochdale make some inroads on the Prestwich goal.

Richard Steadman and Sam Holden were just too strong at the base of the defence and keeper Mike Hudson’s main concern largely remained keeping warm.

The third and final goal came in the 53rd minute when Adam Rhoden held the ball up well to play in Murty who, like Neary in the first half, showed great composure to pick his spot.

With Neary, Murty and Haslam a constant menace to the Rochdale defence, the failure to add to the three goals was baffling as Haslam in particular missed three opportunities to score that would normally have proved routine for such a prolific marksman.

It remained 3-0 though and just as pleasing as the three goals scored was the clean sheet, with Hudson, Steadman, Holden and full-backs Tom Gibson and Andy Davison looking composed throughout the game to completely stifle the Rochdale attack, which augers well for the sterner tests to come.

Prestwich's next match is again at home against third-placed Blackrod Town.