AN 18th-minute Jordan Pendlebury goal gave Prestwich Heys a hard-earned 1-0 win against AFC Liverpool at a sweltering Adie Moran Park.

The game was played at an intensity that matched the heat, two promotion hopefuls going full pelt for 90 minutes.

The football may not always have been of the purest but the sheer effort and determination gripped the crowd throughout.

After the disappointment of defeat in their opening two games, Heys have now put together a five-game unbeaten run to go fourth, having played six of the current top nine.

The first opening against Liverpool came Heys’ way in the eighth minute, Will Shawcross firing over.

Liverpool responded with the lively Callum Schorah going on a diagonal run before his shot was comfortably dealt with by Russell Saunders.

However, Heys were showing signs of building some momentum and Shelton Payne’s neat footwork made space for a shot that was blocked at the near post by keeper David Potter.

The opener came in the 18th minute as Heys took a lead they were not to relinquish with two pieces of brilliance that unlocked the visitors. Dom Slaven’s sharp turn created space on halfway to pick out a super pass behind the defence for Pendlebury to use his pace before showing great composure to lift the ball over Potter and into the far corner.

Stung into action, Liverpool’s Schorah drew a save from Saunders with an angled shot. The Heys keeper, then had to be sharp to drop low to save Jonathan Croasdale’s header.

Heys remained a threat with the pace and energy of Rio Wilson-Heyes, Shawcross and Pendlebury constantly providing an outlet.

Heys almost increased their lead when a 20-yard shot by Sixsmith was fumbled by Potter but it trickled wide.

On the stroke of half time the visitors almost levelled but Jason McGrane found the side netting.

At the other end Payne worked an angle for a deft shot that cleared the bar.

In the 55th minute Adie Moran Park saw its first ever sin binning as Potter spoke out of turn to a linesman and was dispatched for 10 minutes.

In his place went centre-half Mike Jones, who proved a more-than capable deputy, not least when he dropped superbly to keep out a Shawcross free-kick destined for the bottom corner.

Heys’ Adrian Bellamy and Wilson-Heyes both cleared the bar and Schorah drifted one shot wide before being denied by Saunders as the game hung in the balance.

Despite it being each team’s second game in three days, both played in hot conditions and their seventh in 23 days, the effort and work rate remained undiminished.

Heys were stretching every sinew to defend their lead, while Liverpool pressed and probed, looking for a way through.

When Anthony Lyons found an opening with four minutes remaining a goal seemed certain, but the striker pulled his shot across goal.

Whilst one Lyons grimaced, In the home dugout, Heys manager Jon Lyons breathed a sigh of relief and his side found the will to hold on for victory.

Heys are back in action this Saturday, hosting 1874 Northwich in the FA Vase preliminary round. Kick off at Adie Moran Park is 3pm.