PRESTWICH FC produced arguably their best performance of the season to end the winning start of Lancashire Amateur League Premier Division title chasers Rossendale.

Mike Kosub’s men had been on a decent run of their own – unbeaten in five matches – before losing to Old Mancunians the previous weekend.

But they bounced back to win 1-0 at home to second-placed Rossendale, ending the visitors’ run of six straight victories.

Prestwich started the game without any recognised full backs, with strikers Mike Neary and Aldair Victorano filling in in a makeshift back four.

Despite having attack-minded players in defence, the Prestwich plan was to limit the visitors’ own attacking options. And it worked.

Kosub said: “Our gameplan was to stifle what was a potent Rossendale strike force and the early exchanges were fairly even, with neither side creating any clear-cut chances.

“You could clearly see why Rossendale had enjoyed such a good start to the campaign as they looked to have quality throughout the side, but we more than matched them with some rugged defending by Neary, Victorano and our centre-halves Richard Steadman and Paul Taylor, while our keeper, Mike Hudson, was flawless.”

The match was goalless at the break but Prestwich got their noses in front just 30 seconds after the restart, when Sean Haslam burst through from deep to stroke the ball home.

Prestwich dug in after Haslam’s opener and endured a barrage from the visitors, who battled hard in a vain attempt to get something from the game.

“To their credit, Rossendale were never going to let their run come to an end without a scrap and they set about us with a vengeance,” added Kosub.

“What followed was a testimony to the collective spirit and work ethic of the team, with everyone fighting for every ball and throwing themselves into tackles all over the pitch.”

Having had little joy penetrating the Prestwich rearguard effort on the ground, Rossendale became more and more direct, launching a series of high balls into the box.

But what was not headed away by Steadman, Taylor or Ross Salmon, who dropped deep from his central midfield role to help out in defence, was gathered up by Hudson.

Things became even more precarious with the loss of Taylor through injury on the hour, with Salmon forced to drop deeper still and front man Haslam adding an extra presence in midfield.

But Prestwich held on for a vital three points, finishing the day still in 11th place but opening up a four-point cushion over the bottom three.

Kosub said: “While it was a terrific all-round team effort, ultimately we had our goalkeeper to thank for the points. He put in a man-of-the-match performance, tipping over several shots and blocking an effort when the Rossendale player was through one-on-one, while also showing real bravery to deal with the constant onslaught of high balls in the second half.”