Connor Berry marked his return to Prestwich Heys with what proved the decisive strike in a 3-2 win at Chadderton on Saturday.

In a hard-fought match, in windy conditions, Berry came off the bench in the 62nd minute following his return from AVRO and scored Heys third goal 12 minutes later to put them 3-1 ahead.

Two Jack Coop goals had earlier put Heys on their way to a fourth successive victory, but they faced a nervous finish as the home side staged a late rally, pulling a goal back seven minutes from time, but Lee O’Brien and James Hampson’s side held firm to record a fourth successive win.

Chadderton have adapted well to life in the Premier Division following their promotion in the Summer and started the day in fourth position having claimed some notable scalps including victory at Bury. They started here with plenty of intent and Ethan Sutcliffe drew Jordan Hadlow into a second minute save, the Heys keeper dropping to his right to push the ball out for a corner.

The hosts were bursting with energy, giving Heys little time to settle but the visitors did put together a neat passing move in the 8th minute that culminated in Bradley Sullivan’s low, angled shot being blocked for a corner.

Although the pace was frantic and both sides were busy, chances were at a premium with the conditions not helping. Both sides found promising positions but then found the final ball elusive.

As the half progressed however, Heys showed increasing signs of finding their rhythm, enjoying more meaningful possession with Greg Daniels to the fore. In the 23rd minute Matt Davies curled a shot just wide from the edge of the area before on the half hour a deep cross from Jacob Ngoy picked out Sullivan, whose header drifted wide.

Heys momentum brought its reward in the 34th minute when they took the lead. Ngoy broke forward from his full back position into the home penalty box before being brought down giving the referee an easy decision to make in pointing to the spot. From the penalty Coop stepped up and although home keeper Morgan Bacon got a hand to it, the strikers shot carried too much power and found the inside of the net.

The home side almost hit back straight away as a cross into the box found Sean Kgwakgwa unmarked ten yards out but, in having to stretch for the ball, he didn’t make firm contact allowing Hadlow to gather.

The visitors however ended the half on top with a couple of corners from which Rio Wilson-Heyes had a shot pushed round the post then Kia Haigh saw his effort gathered low by Bacon.

Heys were forced into a defensive reshuffle at the break when Brad Sixsmith replaced Nathan Bartram-Conway, who had battled on after receiving a heavy knock early the game. However, it did not dim their momentum. Looking comfortable at the back, Heys pressed and probed going forward and their endeavour was rewarded in the 59th minute with a second goal.

A stray pass was seized upon by Rio Wilson-Heyes and he put in a great ball to release Coop who steadied himself before picking his spot and planting the ball in the back of the net for his eleventh goal of the season.

Shortly, after Berry entered the fray to a warm reception from the visiting fans and he was soon in the action as Heys shifted the ball left to right and back again in a great move that ended with Berry firing a shot wide of the far post.

Heys were looking comfortable, but they were rocked in the 72nd minute when the home side pulled a goal back out of nothing. There seemed little danger when Kain Dean drove in a low cross from the left, but the Heys defence was static as the ball drifted across the six-yard box before Adam Dale prodded home from close range.

However, the goal sprang Heys back into action and they quickly swept up field to re-establish their two-goal lead. A great through ball by Wilson-Heyes put Berry clear of the home defence and the Heys man went through to draw the keeper and slot home.

Heys looked to press home their advantage with Saidkhon Khamidov firing just over and then Coop couldn’t quite get the ball from under his feet as his hat-trick beckoned.

Moments later though the complexion of the game changed again as Chadderton burst forward and Harry Dean fired home to give his side fresh hope.

Chadderton’s never say die spirit has seen them comeback late in games previously and when the referee signalled an six additional minutes a nervous ending ensued for Heys before they could claim the points and a deserved victory that moved them up to seventh in the table ahead of Tuesdays home game with League leaders Kendal Town.

TEAM: Jordan Hadlow, Jacob Ngoy, Saidkhon Khamidov, Kai Haigh, Nathan Bartram-Conway, Kyle Jacobs (Capt.), Matt Davies, Greg Daniels, Jack Coop, Bradley Sullivan, Rio Wilson-Heyes Subs; Russell Saunders, Tyler James (for Wilson-Heyes 75 mins), Darcy O’Connor (for Haigh 70 mins), Connor Berry (for Davies 62 mins), Brad Sixsmith (for Bartram-Conway 45 mins)