Dom Lavrinovic was Prestwich Heys’ hero of the hour as he scored the winning penalty in a 4-3 shootout win over AFC Blackpool, to secure the North West Youth Alliance Division Three Cup at Burscough.

After finishing first and second in a nine-team tournament, the two sides locked horns again in the in an entertaining final played in hot conditions and in front of a decent-sized crowd.

Nick Simister’s side came into the game having won eight of their last nine games, easing to victories against fancied sides Darwen and AFC Liverpool, while scoring 26 goals on the back of pacy, eye-catching football.

Blackpool, unbeaten throughout the season, were the quicker to settle with Alex McLoughlin firing straight into the arms of Heys keeper Joe Keane.

Heys’ first chance came on seven minutes when a Bailey Dawes cross on the left was fired over the bar by Lewis Lundon and then in the 15th minute came their best chance of the half.

A lovely through ball from Joe Walsh found Ollie Scott whose shot from close range brought a great save from Blackpool keeper Kian Dodgson, the rebound again came back to Scott whose second shot was then cleared off the line to safety.

Back came Blackpool who had a shot cleared off the line themselves as they held the upper hand for the remainder of the first half. They spurned a great chance in the 39th minute when striker Charlie Simmons shot just wide of Keane’s right-hand post from 18 yards and he then had a penalty shout, just before the break. When clean through he went down in the box after a challenge, but the referee waved play on.

Blackpool created the better chances in the first half against a Heys side that had looked nervous but they got off to a glorious start in the second half when Bailey Dawes opened the scoring from 12 yards to send the contingent of Prestwich fans wild.

Heys now started to find their groove with Ollie Scott and Dawes a constant menace – the latter nearly bagging a second in the 50th minute, just dragging his shot wide.

The game now was much more open with Blackpool’s Scott Snape hitting the bar with a header from 18 yards before an effort was cleared off the line soon after.

At the other end, Scott forced a sharp save out of the Blackpool keeper.

At the other end Heys keeper Keane was being kept busy making a great save from Blackpool forward Jake Marshall who was looking livelier as the game went on.

With time running out, Heys pressed for the second but they were denied again when Blackpool keeper Dodgson saved a point-blank header from a corner by Lavrinovic.

Blackpool were reduced to 10 men in the 89th minute when Jake Marshall was sent off but in the fifth of six added minutes of injury time, a high ball from the left found Jordan Rankine whose looping header sailed over Keane and into the net for the equaliser and heartbreak for Heys.

That’s how it remained with the game going straight to penalties and one sensed the momentum was with Blackpool after this late drama.

Penalties it was and after a couple of misses for Blackpool and one by Heys, Ollie Scott, making it 3-3, it was down to Lavrinovic to take the final spot kick and finish the job for Heys.

Amidst high tension, he showed nerves of steel, shooting to the bottom right to prompt scenes of jubilation from players and supporters alike and bring the cup back to Prestwich with Dawes winning the Man of the Match


It was a fitting end to this entertaining competition by Simister’s side who played an attractive brand of football throughout to run out deserved winners with the fans going home in the knowledge that the future of Prestwich Heys looks to be very much in safe hands.