PRESTWICH Heys’ FA Vase hopes were ended by an extra-time defeat to Premier Division Charnock Richard at Adie Moran Park.

Having overcome higher-grade opposition in 1874 Northwich in the previous round, Heys had hopes of adding another headlining scalp, particularly when Shelton Payne twice gave them the lead. However, they were ultimately thwarted by a hat-trick by one of non-league’s deadliest marksmen, Carl Grimshaw.

It was harsh on Heys who matched their opponents throughout. Had they taken a couple of decent chances that came their way when 2-1 up, the outcome may well have proved different.

It was a slow burner of a game that developed and improved after the opening exchanges were untidy, almost laboured, as both teams struggled to keep possession.

The first chance came the way of the visitors as Matthew Davison cut into the box before putting his shot behind from a tight angle.

Heys’ first sight of goal saw Payne curl in a shot that was comfortably held by Charnock keeper Ben Ashcroft.

But that was to prove a sighter for the Heys wide man as, on 25 minutes, he gave his side the lead. Good work by Danny White saw him pick out Payne on the edge of the area and with a delicious roll of the ball from one foot to the other he cut inside and curled a superb shot into the bottom corner.

At this point, Heys were causing Charnock Richard all sorts of problems, Payne shooting across goal and Jacob Holt’s cross prompting chaos in the visitors’ box.

However, in the 39th minute the visitors levelled. Heys’ defence had done a good job on keeping Grimshaw quiet, often forcing him deep, but when Oliver Oxley delivered a deep cross to the far post, the striker found just the space he needed to head home.

But Charnock’s joy was short-lived as, on the stroke of half time, Ashcroft made a mess of a clearance, sending it straight to the feet of Payne who gleefully advanced to steer the ball home.

Charnock came out the busier after the restart and some swift passing ended with Danny Regan shooting just over.

Heys responded with White heading off target and Payne seeing his shot from an acute angle blocked at the foot of the post by Ashcroft.

There was now a real intensity to the game, Charnock having to commit more resources to attack and Heys defending stoically and looking a real threat on the counter.

Saunders dropped smartly to his left to save a close-range shot from Davison before Grimshaw rose to head wide when it seemed he must score.

In response, Heys wasted a chance in a three-on-one breakaway and then when Will Shawcross crossed low for Haydn Foulds it looked like game over, but the striker finished meekly.

Five minutes from time Heys were punished as Charnock levelled with an identical goal to their first, a deep cross to the back post and Grimshaw again finding the space to head home.

In the dying seconds Payne almost snatched it for Heys but his angled shot was saved low down at full stretch by Ashcroft.

As extra time got under way Payne again went close with a shot that sailed just over.

But the visitors were looking the fresher and in the 98th minute they took the lead as a ball worked across the edge of the penalty area found Grimshaw and he drilled into the bottom corner to complete his hat-trick.

Once ahead, Charnock threatened to cut loose and Saunders was out quick to save at the feet of Jordan Darr who, shortly after, then shot against the post.

The woodwork rescued Heys again in the 122nd minute, this time Lewis Haydock the man denied.

Heys then broke and Shawcross’s shot was kept out by the outstretched hand of Ashcroft.

It sparked one last push from Heys and Justin Pickering went mightily close to forcing a replay.

Holt’s deft back header went agonisingly wide, Adrian Bellamy steered a shot into the side netting and with the last kick of the game Brad Sixsmith cleared the bar.

Heys return to league action on Saturday with a huge game at home to North West Counties First Division North leaders Lower Breck. Kick off is 3pm.