Daisy Hill 1-2 Atherton Collieries
NWCL Division One
Saturday 13th October, 2012
For one reason or another, the trip to Thackley wasn't possible for me today to see Boro in action. Probably a good thing in the end, as we ended up being dumped out of the FA Vase 3-2.
Instead, I had a large list of potential fixtures to choose from, all within a 20 mile or so radius of Ormskirk. Thankfully, some of them finished 0-0, but the one I chose had a few goals.
Daisy Hill - the name sounds appealing, perhaps like something from a Bronte novel. The village is located roughly 6 miles east of Wigan, and 14 miles or so west of Manchester. They are one of three clubs in NWCL Division One within 2 miles of one another: the other two being Atherton Laburnum Rovers and Atherton Collieries. It was the latter of these who were the visitors to Daisy Hill today.
The ground was accessed further along the perimeter fence, through a single turnstile. The turnstile operator didn't see me stood there for a moment, until one of his colleagues said "Eh up - you've got a punter!".
The ground itself is very basic, but does just the job at this level of football. Behind one goal is the clubhouse. In front of this, three or four rows of seats have been added as well as a roof which covers this area. The only other stand of note is near the dugouts along one side of the pitch. The rest of the ground is hard standing and grass. One entire side of the ground is grassed over, and I think access was restricted. I didn't try and do a full circuit.
By kick off, Daisy Hill's largest crowd of the season - 67 - had amassed inside the ground. I'd say that half of these had travelled the 2 miles or so from neighbouring Atherton. As the locals will tell you, this is rugby country. The demise of nearby Leigh RMI/Genesis will perhaps testify to that.
Daisy Hill began the game having won 1, drawn 4 and lost 4 of their opening nine league matches. Suffice to say they hadn't had the best start. The 'Colls' had started the season with 4 wins and 3 defeats, so inconsistent is perhaps the best word to describe their early form.
0-0 at the break, and it was clear that Daisy Hill were the side most pleased with the scoreline.
The half time break included a home-made Lancashire hotpot and a mug of soup served in a real cup. All for less than £2.50. That's why non-league football is great!
The second half began with the home side on the front foot, but a freak goal put the visitors ahead on 51 minutes. Aaron Cringle went to cross the ball in from the right wing, but he sliced it. Unfortunately for the home keeper, it caught him out completely, and ended up nestling in the top corner. It was similar to the goal Brazil scored against England a decade or so ago.
This goal spurred on the home side, who equalised on 67 minutes after defensive indecisiveness let in Daniel Gregory who side footed home for 1-1.
To be honest, anything other than an away win would have flattered Daisy Hill and been unfair on Atherton, but it was unfortunate way to concede.
The game finished 1-2, and it was an enjoyable day out at the football. It's just a shame that no more than 67 people turned up to see an entertaining local derby between two Lancashire towns just 2 miles apart.