A LAST-gasp Mitch Bryant strike gave Heys a thrilling 3-2 victory over Walshaw Sports in the St Annes Cup semi-final at Tottington.

The Heys striker’s goal, his second of the game, capped a great fightback by Lee O’Brien and James Hampson’s side, who in an intense and frantic contest, had trailed 2-0 at half time and looked to be heading for a shock defeat.

In truth, Heys were awful in the first half. That is not to take anything away from Walshaw, however. The Manchester League Premier Division side played some fine football and were hungrier and sharper in all areas.

Having hit the post in the opening minutes, Walshaw took the lead in the 12th minute with a close-range finish. The Bury side then increased their lead in the 28th minute with a fine free kick from the edge of the area.

Heys did have a couple of isolated moments where they showed what they might achieve with Connor Berry bringing a save from the keeper and Scot Cullen rattled the crossbar with a free kick on the stroke of half time.

Nonetheless, it was a welcome half time break for the Heys camp and the team talk and interval changes saw a more robust start to the second half as they opened in much livelier fashion, reducing the arrears within two minutes of the restart.

There was more than an element of good fortune as the ball appeared to go out of play but playing to the adage of play to the whistle, Connor Berry played on while Walshaw stopped and the Heys man dinked in a fine finish from an acute angle.

However, Heys endeavour was rewarded in the 65th minute with an equaliser. A ball down the middle opened the Walshaw defence and Bryant, despite a heavy challenge, got a shot off to beat the keeper and level matters.

With the game in the melting pot things became fractious as a sin bin and a red card saw both sides reduced to ten men, Heys permanently.

However, Heys held the upper hand now with Danny White pulling the strings in midfield and Tyler James a lively threat down the flanks.

It was the latter, in the last minute, who showed great pace to beat two defenders and whip in a near post cross that Bryant beat the keeper too and score with a super header and so cap a memorable fight back.

However, there was to be no Cup Final following the withdrawal of Elton Vale. Heys instead hastily arranged a game at Whitchurch Alport on Saturday with the hosts prevailing 2-0 in a tight contest.

Heys have two more friendlies before the season starts. They travel to Wythenshawe Amateurs on Saturday (2pm) before entertaining New Mills on Monday night (7pm).

n Meanwhile, the Mayor of Bury is to officially open Heys new stand.

In a statement the club said “We are very proud to announce that The Worshipful the Mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of Bury, Councillor Shaheena Haroon, has kindly agreed to come to our ground on Saturday, July 30 at 1.30pm to officially open our brand new stand, sponsored by Global Auctioneers.

“This visit has kindly been arranged by Councillors Imran Rizvi and Elliot Moss of the Holyrood Ward.

“We are extremely grateful for their continued support. We hope you can all come along to celebrate the club’s continuing growth, before a fantastic afternoon of football against Burscough.”