A COMBINATION of ring-rust and a dip in form ensured Prestwich Heys fell to their fifth straight defeat in all competitions at home to AFC Blackpool on Saturday.

Jon Lyons' side had not played since Bonfire Night following a run of four successive postponements and there was no doubt they lacked a clinical edge in the 1-0 loss.

Whether that was down to a lack of confidence or match practice is hard to say, but the result must have been a bitter pill to swallow after Heys missed a host of chances before the visitors scored the decisive goal seven minutes from time.

The Hallmark Security League First Division newcomers were dealt a blow even before kick off when it became clear Congleton striker Brian Matthews had backtracked on a deal to sign with them and instead agreed to take up an offer from Premier Division side Runcorn Linnets.

Lyons described Matthews as a "natural goalscorer" when announcing the deal last week and he would surely have made a difference against Blackpool.

Both sides tested each other out in the opening stages.

Danny White's glancing header over the bar for Heys in the 10th minute was the closest either side came to scoring.

Heys beat Blackpool 5-0 in the reverse fixture in September but it was immediately obvious this was a stronger, more resolute opposition and it took a superb last ditch tackle by Shaun Johnson to keep out Jack Williams as the visitors threatened.

White and Dom Slaven went close with 20-yard shots as Heys upped the ante before Adam Tse showed quick feet to find space in the box, only to shoot into the side netting.

Heys were enjoying the greater possession, but Blackpool were a threat on the counter attack and they won a penalty in the 26th minute following a scramble in the box.

However, Heys goalkeeper Danny Taberner proved equal to Aaron Fleming’s spot kick to preserve the deadlock.

Blackpool stopper Callum Kirkland got down well to save a White shot with his legs on the half hour before Taberner was again called into action three minutes later to hold Fleming’s low shot.

Heys were in the ascendancy as the half drew to a close. Kirkland denied Lee Bruce at the foot of the post before Tse put a close-range header wide.

The Blackpool keeper then denied Bruce and Tse again before the interval.

The visitors started the second period the brighter – Taberner had to stretch to hold a Fleming header before Ryan Charnley flashed a shot across the face of goal.

It was not until the hour mark that Heys posed any real threat as Kirkland again thwarted Tse, tipping his shot over the bar.

Five minutes later Ash Reece centered for Heys but from close range Jamie Baguley headed over, injuring his ankle in the process.

Heys were looking increasingly frustrated and with growing belief in the Blackpool camp they seized their chance in the 83rd minute, Dean Ing heading home a corner at the far post.

Heys tried and salvage something from the game but Kirkland again proved a thorn in their side with a superb save in the dying seconds keeping out a Reece shot.   

Heys are at Alsager Town on Saturday (3pm) before hosting Stockport Town at Adie Moran Park next Wednesday at 7.45pm.

Heys Reserves won 4-1 at Govan to maintain a five-point lead at the top of Manchester League Division One. They are at Irlam Steel on Saturday (2pm).