PRESTWICH Heys remain top of the Manchester League Premier Division after claiming a hard-fought win last Saturday.

Paul Tierney’s 82nd-minute winner saw Heys beat Manchester Gregorians 1-0 at Platt Lane and kept them two points clear of Royton Town.

That rounded off a positive week for Heys after being given the go-ahead to join the North West Counties League next season.

The NWCFL announced that they would recommend to the FA that Adie Moran Park meets the grade H standard required at that level and the Manchester League’s management committee supports Heys’ proposed move to step six of the non-league ladder.

Heys always looked in control of Saturday’s game but looked set to endure a frustrating afternoon as they spurned a host of chances.

Although the hosts rarely troubled, the longer the game went on without a goal the chance remained that Gregs could snatch one, particularly with Heys old boy Martin Love in lively form.

However, Tierney eased the nerves with time running out. Having started at left-back, he was switched to the attack as Heys sought the breakthrough and he duly delivered.

Bruce fired over early on while Dalton McLaughlin tested Danny Wolstenholme in the Gregs goal.

Gregs replied with Mark Fairclough firing over but Heys continued to dominate possession and Lee Bruce fired over from close range after Tierney’s header was blocked.

It took a great last-ditch tackle by Liam Foster to deny Love before half-time but there was more zest in Heys’ play in the second half as McLaughlin had a shot blocked and, from the ensuing corner, Bruce fired against the crossbar.

Jake Wood then headed over from a corner while Wolstenholme pushed a Danny White shot round the post and Adam Hilton scuffed a good opportunity.

But Erike Sousa then burst into the box and crossed for Tierney to score with a deft flick.

Heys’ reserves reached the final of the Open Trophy after an impressive 2-1 win at Stockport Georgians.

Ryan Cain scored a first-half brace before Georgians pulled one back in the second half and although they won a penalty, stand-in keeper Liam Dunn saved it to clinch victory.

The full-back was only in goal as Heys did not have a keeper eligible who had played the requisite number of games.

Heys’ first team visit Stockport Georgians in the Gilgryst Cup semi-finals on Good Friday before playing a crucial league derby at Walshaw on Easter Monday. In between, the reserves host Springhead in the league on Saturday.