AN under-strength Prestwich side came from behind to claim a 1-1 draw at home to promotion rivals Blackrod Town in the Lancashire Amateur League Premier Division on Saturday.

Mike Kosub's men went into the match with only two fit centre-backs in the squad and lost one after only 13 minutes when Tom Gibson was forced off due to a clash of heads.

He was replaced by Paul Taylor, who only went to the game as a spectator but was co-opted on to the bench and ended up playing nearly 80 minutes.

Blackrod took advantage of the early change to take the lead before Prestwich had time to fully adjust.

After some neat interplay in the box a Blackrod midfielder broke clear and dinked a shot over advancing keeper Mike Hudson to open the scoring on 15 minutes.

The match had started at a frenetic pace, with Blackrod knowing a victory would have moved them above Oldham Hulmeians into top spot, while Prestwich, who started the day in fourth, had the chance to go second.

Blackrod maintained their high intensity throughout the half, denying the home side any real scoring opportunities but failing to give Hudson another a real save to make.

Prestwich made another change at half time, with David Thompson replacing a limping Chris Hopkins.

It caused a slight change of shape, which ultimately worked well.

The second half continued at a fast pace but after an hour the intensity of the Blackrod game fell off somewhat and Prestwich began to dominate possession and create chances.

Steven Murty brought an outstanding save from the Blackrod keeper, who palmed away a 30-yard effort that was heading for the top corner, while Taylor put a header from a corner just over.

Prestwich eventually scored an equaliser with 10 minutes remaining when Sean Haslam allowed a cross to drop over his shoulder before striking a powerful volley into the net, leaving the keeper rooted to the spot.

The leveller set up a frantic final 10 minutes as both sides went for the win.

Hudson produced an excellent save to keep the score level while Prestwich missed a handful of half chances.

Old Blackburnians took advantage of the stalemate to go top, while Prestwich are fourth, three points back after having played three games more than the leaders, and Blackrod moved above Oldham into second.

Prestwich continue their promotion campaign at 11th-placed Castle Hill on Saturday, kick off 2.30pm.

This match was Prestwich's third in the last four against teams at the top of Division 1 of the LAL and represented a chance for either team to go top with a win.

In keeping with this,the game started at a frenetic pace with Blackrod on the front foot and working hard to prevent Prestwich getting into their stride.

Prestwich were dealt a major blow when after five minutes a clash of heads saw Tom Gibson struggling and he had to be replaced after 13 minutes meaning Prestwich had then lost three centre halves available for the game.

He was replaced by Paul Taylor who had turned up to watch but ended up on the bench.

Before Prestwich could fully readjust some excellent ball work by Blackrod in the box resulted in a supporting midfield player chipping over the advancing Mike Hudson to open the scoring on 15 minutes.