PRESTWICH Heys endured a frustrating afternoon as they lost 2-0 at Adie Moran Park to Yorkshire outfit Shelley in First Division North.

After seven successive wins, Heys have now suffered back-to-back defeats as their season continues to test their mettle.

In many ways the game was a mirror of their season. Heys produced some great football at times but lacked the cutting edge to make it count, with luck also deserting them as they twice hit the post.

Injuries again played their part as Max White and Chris Baguley were both forced to withdraw within the opening half hour, compounding the fight to pull back the two soft goals they conceded early on.

Shelley were lively opponents, pacy and with high-tempo pressing, and a defensive resilience.

For Heys it was an all-too familiar story, however.

The afternoon got off to the worst possible start as Shelley went ahead in the second minute. Some great wing play by Jacob Buchanan opened Heys up and his cross picked out an unmarked Craig Billington whose header looped in over Michael Smith.

Heys’ response was positive as Rio Wilson-Heyes saw a shot held low by visiting keeper Paul Day. White then picked out Brad Sixsmith whose shot came back off the post before being scrambled to safety.

Baguley fired over before White was forced off with a hamstring injury, paving the way for Alfie Belcher to make his last appearance before heading back to America.

While Shelley were a threat going forward, the hosts continued to hold the upper hand. Sixsmith tested Day with a low shot before a great move culminated with a Liam Healey effort going wide.

The battle became tougher just after the half hour as Shelley doubled their lead. A ball floated into the box was met by Heys centre-half Sven Gibson, but the ball hit one of his team-mates, before taking another deflection and rolling into the net.

Heys then lost Baguley to injury, with Will Shawcross, coming into a youthful Heys midfield and attack.

The youngsters set about their task with gusto. Cory Knight picked out Wilson-Heyes but his shot passed by the keeper and the far post.

The pace of Heys’ football was unrelenting but lacked composure. It was Shelley who came closest to scoring, Billington firing one over from close range and being denied by a brilliant save by Smith.

After Belcher freed up Sixsmith in the 85th minute his shot hit the post, and it was clear this was not Heys’ day.

Heys cross the Pennines on Saturday to face Steeton at Keighley Cougars RLFC’s Cougar Park ground.

Kick off is 3pm.