PRESTWICH Heys’ pre-season preparations continued with a 3-0 defeat to Atherton Collieries at Adie Moran Park on Saturday.

It was a harsh scoreline on Heys who contributed much to an entertaining game against a Colls side that has made rapid progress up the non-league pyramid in recent years under manager Michael Clegg.

Clegg took over at Colls in 2014 and has overseen a rise from the North West Counties League First Division, up though the leagues, culminating in their promotion to the Evo Stik League Premier Division with the West division title last season.

However, it was not until the last 15 minutes of Saturday’s game that the visitors took charge as their greater experience and fitness came to the fore.

Prior to that the teams had gone toe-to-toe, taking it in turns to enjoy periods of control and create chances.

Heys started the better but it was Colls who were to go the closest to scoring with a shot just going wide of the post.

However, on the half hour a great move involving Alfie Belcher, James Sinnott and Lee Grimshaw ended with the latter’s low shot being pushed to safety as Heys upped the ante.

Indeed, before the interval Heys might have opened the scoring as Sinnott flashed a shot just wide and Jordan Pendlebury went agonisingly close with a close-range effort.

Atherton started the second period the stronger, seeing a shot come off the bar before Heys responded through the lively Pendlebury who twice went close, shooting into the side netting and then across the face of goal.

The tireless Brad Sixsmith then curled an effort wide before in the 75th minute Colls took the lead. A great move was met at the far post by a super header by Ian Rowlands, a player who featured for Heys on loan at Adie Moran Park last season.

The goal knocked the stuffing out of Heys and Colls went on to find the net twice more in the closing stages, either side of two good chances for the hosts, Pendlebury and Rio Wilson-Heyes the players thwarted as they searched for a goal.

This Saturday, Heys host West Lancashire League Premier Division side Turton at Adie Moran Park (3pm).

Turton won the Lancashire Amateur Shield as well as the league’s Richardson Cup last season so will arrive in confident mood.

Evo-Stik Premier Division Trafford, who have been regular visitors to Adie Moran Park in recent years will do so again next Tuesday (July 16). Kick off is 7.45pm.