PRESTWICH Heys made a winning return to the FA Cup with a 2-1 victory over Abbey Hey in the extra preliminary round at Adie Moran Park on Saturday.

After a 35-year absence from the competition, Heys were good value for their victory over their Hallmark Security League Premier Division opponents.

After a hard-fought first half, Heys dominated the second period and the victory margin could well have been more handsome.

However, their inability to ram home their superiority meant Abbey Hey staged a late rally to provide a nervous finish for Heys, who will now host Radcliffe in the next round on August 25.

There was certainly an air of excitement and expectation among a healthy crowd of 188, as the game got under way and Heys did not disappoint, capping a lively start by going ahead in the fifth minute.

A Max White corner was only half-cleared and when he whipped the ball in again, Theodore Kidd seized on defensive hesitancy to rifle home from 10 yards.

But home joy was short-lived as, two minutes later, Abbey levelled. A free kick to the far post was headed back across goal by the towering Stephen Solademi and as the ball bounced around the box, Aaron Rodger headed home.

The goal allowed the visitors to gain a foothold in the game, stifling Heys’ early fluency, while threatening themselves. Solademi was a real threat in the air and perhaps should have done better with a 16th-minute header he put into the side-netting.

Heys regrouped and twice went close through Kidd. He firstly fired wide from a corner before then breaking clear into the box, only to see his low shot well saved by the outstretched boot of Abbey keeper Ross Heywood.

Heys were beginning to assert a measure of authority on the game with Max White denied at close range by Heywood, who gathered his shot at the second attempt.

Abbey Hey were not without threat in a tight affair but it was Heys who were the more dangerous and only the post denied them an interval lead.

Dom Slaven controlled and crossed superbly for Danny White whose first-time shot cannoned off the upright.

It was a momentum Heys maintained after the restart and within three minutes they were back in front. Max White’s corner was met by Jake Wood who powered a header into the roof of the net.

Brimming with confidence, Heys set about their opponents with gusto, Kidd was denied by Heywood, who also dropped well to hold a Lee Grimshaw shot.

It was all Heys and after a scramble in the box Max White was next to be denied as his close-range effort was met with a stunning reflex save by Heywood.

Rio Wilson-Heyes then slalomed through the Abbey defence but lifted his shot over as Heys found the third – killer – goal elusive.

The visitors perhaps should have been reduced to 10 men on 75 minutes when Kidd, who terrorised the Abbey defence throughout, dispossessed a defender, only to be pulled down as he looked to break clear, but the Abbey man escaped with just a yellow card.

Heywood continued to frustrate Heys and pulled off another fine close-range save to keep out a Jacob Holt header in the 75th minute before then stretching to pluck a Wilson-Heyes shot out of the air.

Having been unable to kill the game off Heys faced a nervous finish as Abbey tried to salvage a replay, the hosts scrambling to defend two corners deep into stoppage time, but surviving.

Heys return to league action on Saturday when they travel to Longridge Town, kick off 3pm.