PRESTWICH Heys faced a much-improved Holker Old Boys but put in an accomplished performance in testing conditions to end 2018 by racking up a 4-0 victory and their sixth successive win in First Division North.

Hosts Holker played down the slope in the first half and kept Heys in check for the first quarter of an hour.

Prestwich did have chances, however, with Liam Healey driving past the post early on and Brad Sixsmith shooting straight at Old Boys’ keeper Sam Stephens.

At the other end, sterling work from Darius Photiou kept the home side out, and then Mike Smith made a smart one-handed save.

Heys then got a tight grip on the game, Carl Fitton seeing a free kick deflected to Jacob Wood, whose header hit the bar, but the offside flag was raised.

Rio Wilson-Heyes played a fine cross-field ball to Fitton which held up in the strong wind and was headed inches over by Sven Gibson.

With 10 minutes of the half to play, Heys took the lead and it was lively winger Will Shawcross who broke the deadlock, jinking his way into space before unleashing a magnificent effort into the top corner.

Just before the break Heys almost scored a second goal. Wilson-Heyes combined well with Sixsmith, and his cross found the head of Lee Bruce, but it was too strong for him to direct at goal.

In the second half a resolute Old Boys managed to hold out until the 54th minute when Shawcross ran along the edge of the penalty area before firing into the net.

Two goals to the good, Heys then introduced Cory Knight, for his debut, and Dom Slaven for Bruce and Fitton.

Just after the hour, Shawcross’s pull-back from the by-line took a vital touch from the keeper, who pushed the ball just behind Knight.

The respite only lasted two minutes, though, Knight held up the ball before touching it on for Sixsmith, who took it round the keeper and slotted home.

Wilson-Heyes and Healey combined well on 65 minutes, but the keeper was alert to the danger.

Holker continued to compete but got little change from Wood and Gibson.

The result was sealed late on when Healey slipped a pass through for substitute Alfie Belcher. The Holker defender made a hash of blocking it and Belcher made no mistake as he completed the scoring.

On Boxing Day, Holt had scored a dramatic last-gasp winner for Heys in a breathtaking finish at AFC Darwen.

On his 50th appearance, the centre-back struck in the 98th minute to give his side a victory that appeared to have been snatched from them only a minute earlier when Elliot Pond levelled at 2-2.

But Heys roused themselves for one last push and when Chris Baguley swung in a corner, Holt rose to head home a glorious winner.

In an entertaining game, Heys enjoyed the better of things but found themselves behind in the 41st minute when Corey Harrison fired home for Darwen.

However, on the stroke of half time Belcher broke clear to level for Heys.

Heys continued to enjoy the better of it in the second half and squandered several chances.

The hosts were reduced to 10 men in the 75th minute when Anthony Hodges was sent off, and a minute later Heys took the lead. A Max White corner was met with a bullet header by Lee Grimshaw.

That is how it stayed until the dramatic finale and Holt’s winner.

Heys are now up to third in the table after a Christmas period that has seen Longridge, AVRO and Carlisle City all drop points.

And it is Carlisle City who are Heys’ first opponents of 2019 when they host the Cumbrians on Saturday for a huge six-pointer.

Kick off at Adie Moran Park is 3pm.