Daisy Hill

Daisy Hill vs Garforth Town, FA Vase First Qualifying Round, 10/09/16, New Sirs

With my car off of the road again, due to issues with the battery, or something related to the car’s wiring, my options for football were limited to places I could get to using public transport, now I don’t dislike public transport, I just find it a little annoying, as being from London I’m used to trains and buses every couple of minutes, but in the North you have something called ‘patience’, which is still a foreign concept to myself.

After quickly popping into Chorley town centre in the morning, I found myself waiting for the 13.12, 362 service to Wigan. I’ve never actually been to Wigan itself before, I’ve been to the football ground but not to Wigan town centre. I’ve heard things about Wigan, but to be fair I found it to be an alright little place, but then again I only saw a very brief area of Wigan as I walked to Wigan Wallgate station. My bus ticket, a return, had set me back £5.30, and I was to pay a further £4 for a return ticket to Daisy Hill. Going back to my earlier statement about being patient and waiting, I think I did very well as I waited about 30 minutes for the train to arrive, Spotify and Facebook eased the frustration to be fair.

At 14.19 I arrived into Daisy Hill, and quickly brought Google Maps up on my phone, I needn’t have bothered as the football ground is pretty much a straight walk from the station, and I soon found myself at New Sirs, home of Daisy Hill Football Club. With my entrance fee of £5 paid, and a £1 programme in hand, I took in my surroundings, and watched the players warm up on the field behind the far goal. I did find myself wondering how the assistant referees decide who’s going to run which touchline, as the one that ran the touchline opposite to the dugouts was in for a quiet afternoon, as due to ground grading criteria, no spectators can stand along that touchline, which must be heaven for assistant referees.

New Sirs is a lovely little ground, there’s a small seated stand behind the goal, which houses the clubhouse, refreshment hut and changing rooms, with a couple of rows of seating at the front, to the side of the stand is a pile of seats ready to be installed. As I’ve said along the touchline opposite the dugouts, spectators aren’t allowed and the touchline is lined by a hedge. Behind the far goal is a field where the teams warmed up, however this was also roped off from spectators. Along the other touchline are the dugouts, and along this touchline there is hard standing, with a small covered stand where I watched the first half from.

With about half an hour before kickoff, I headed into the clubhouse, and bought a pint of Fosters from the bar for £3, pint in hand I took a seat and read the programme I had bought, I’ve got to say that it was a bit dark in the clubhouse, but there was enough light to read the programme, so I can’t complain.

The village of Daisy Hill, located 4 miles from Bolton, first saw football in the 1894 to 1895 season, however it is likely that football was probably being played in the area for some years prior to that date. The first record of honours came in the 1896 to 1897 season when Daisy Hill won the Wigan and District League Championship and the Westhoughton Cup without losing a single match. The club then joined the Westhoughton league and during the 1920’s and 1930’s the club won a number of honours in what was one of the strongest local leagues at the time. Following the Second World War the club reformed in 1951 playing in the Westhoughton League, and in 1957 the club moved back to New Sirs. The acquisition of the lease at New Sirs, saw he club move to the Bolton Combination, with the club winning the Bolton Combination Premier Division on four occasions, the Bolton Combination Cup, also on four occasions and the Lancashire Amateur Shield twice during the 60’s and 70’s. The club were accepted n to the Lancashire Football Combination in 1978, and with the amalgamation of the Lancashire Football Combination and the Cheshire County League the club became a founder member of the North West Counties League, where they have remained ever since.


No, I’ve not gone mental, but I first heard of Garforth Town when I was a teenager reading the Non League Paper, and the headline related to the fact that Socrates, one of the greatest Brazilian players had turned out for Garforth, along with ex-Manchester United player Lee Sharpe. Socrates turned out for Garforth due to his involvement with Simon Clifford’s, then Garforth owner, Brazilian Soccer Schools, back in the 2004 to 2005 season. To my memory Socrates only played one game, but it was enough to cement Garforth in my mind. Obviously Garforth existed as a football club long before Socrates turned up to play, with Garforth Town being formed in 1964, originally as the Miners Arms, a local pub team. In 1977 Miners Arms made an application to join the Yorkshire League, however they were advised that pub teams were ineligible to compete so they became known as Garforth Miners and were duly elected to the Yorkshire League. They became founder members of the Northern Counties East League at the beginning of the 1981 to 1982 league, and changed their name to Garforth Town in 1985. Simon Clifford became owner and manager in the 2004 to 2005 season, and won promotion to the NCEL Premier Division, and in the 2006 to 2007 season the club won promotion to the Unibond Division One North, now known as the Evo Stick Northern Premier Division One, which is where they stayed until the 2012 to 2013 season when they were relegated back to the NCEL Premier. Clifford left a while ago, and now the club is under the stewardship of Brian and Jane Close, and Craig Bannister with Rob Hunter as manager, the club are aiming to climb the pyramid again, however it remains to be seen whether they can tempt any more Brazilian legends out of retirement, I hear Ronaldinho isn’t up to much nowadays…

It didn’t take long for the first goal to be scored, as Daisy Hill won a penalty in the 4th minute, following a clear case of handball in the box. Daisy Hill’s number 10 Ashley Scott put the ball on the spot, and his penalty was hit nicely into the bottom right corner. (https://twitter.com/DavidJohnPreece/status/774902895888195584)

Just after the first goal I parted with a £1 for a raffle ticket, however I never did find out the winning number, please let me know if it was ticket 122.

There were to be no more goals in the first half, despite both sides having chances to score. I was impressed by Daisy Hill’s number 3, Joshua Fairhurst, who was having a good game in the left back role. There was to be a case of handbags at dawn just before half time, as the Garforth number 3, Joe Dunnett, didn’t take kindly to a tackle from Daisy Hill’s number 2, Jordan Hussey. Hussey had gone in hard, and both players ended up in a heap on the floor, there was a little bit of a “wrestle” between the players, and a couple of people around me were convinced a punch had been thrown, both players were soon separated and there was the usual scuffle between the rest of the players. Both Dunnett and Hussey earned a yellow card for their efforts, and the game continued as usual.

Half Time: Daisy Hill 1-0 Garforth Town (Scott 4)

At half time I headed back to the clubhouse, for a can of Carlsberg and a packet of crisps, which set me back £3.30. One of my favourite things about non-league football is being able to take beer out to the pitch, as at league grounds it always seems to be a race to finish your drink at half time, but down in the lower leagues you can actually enjoy your pint and watch football whilst doing so.

It didn’t take long for the second goal of the game to be scored, as in the 47th minute, the referee played advantage following an another case of handball in the box, with Daisy Hill’s number 7, Matthew Knowles, capitalizing on the referee’s fantastic decision making, slotting the ball home to double Daisy Hill’s lead. (https://twitter.com/OfficialDHFC/status/774659814395895813)

However just a minute later, Garforth brought themselves back into the game, with an early contender for goal of the season. The ball was played down the right wing, and Garforth’s number 7, Mitch Hamilton, controlled the ball beautifully before slamming the ball past the Daisy Hill keeper from the right hand side of the area. If I actually get around to writing a season review this season, then this goal will be at the top of my list for goal of the season, in fact if this goal had been scored in the Premier League then we would be seeing it again and again. (3.34 into this video, still as good as I remember: https://www.facebook.com/GarforthTownAFC/videos/1106034152820338/)

The first change of the game came in the 67th minute, as Daisy Hill replaced their number 9, John Stephenson, with their number 12, Jordan Donnelly.

Against the run of play, Daisy Hill restored their two goal lead in the 75th minute. Garforth felt that the goal was harsh as they felt the throw in which led to the goal should have gone their way, however it was awarded to Daisy Hill, and it was the Daisy Hill number 8, Jake Foster, who thumped the ball home. (https://twitter.com/OfficialDHFC/status/774661030106501121)

Garforth made a change in the 77th minute, with their number 9, Sean Hunter, being replaced by their number 12, Simon Poole. Daisy Hill then made their second change in the 79th minute, with their number 11, Alex McPolin, coming off to be replaced by number 14, Hensley Mills. The substitutions continued in the 82nd minute as Garforth replaced their goalscorer, number 7 Mitch Hamilton, with their number 15, Jamie Allsop.

Daisy Hill probably should have had a penalty in the 86th minute as their number 10, Ashley Scott was clearly brought down in the area, and if the scores had been closer than 3-1 I believe the referee would have pointed to the penalty spot, however with the score being 3-1, I think the ref went a little lenient, and waved away the protests for the penalty, much to the relief of a number of Garforth fans stood near myself who also considered it to be another penalty. (https://twitter.com/OfficialDHFC/status/774661962219327488)

Just after the denied penalty, Garforth made their final change with their number 3, Joe Dunnett, leaving the field to be replaced by their number 16, Chris Simpkins.

The scoring wasn’t finished, as Daisy Hill added a 4th goal in the 88th minute, as Ashley Scott scored a wonderful goal from near to the halfway line. The Garforth keeper had raced off of his line to clear the ball, but the ball fell to Scott who hit an exquisite shot into the empty net. (https://twitter.com/OfficialDHFC/status/774663065728118784)

Daisy Hill made their final change in the 90th minute as they replaced their number 6, Matthew Davison, with their number 15, Reece Broadhurst. The final whistle came soon after this change, signaling Daisy Hill’s progression to the next round of the FA Vase.

Final Score: Daisy Hill 4-1 Garforth Town (Scott 4, 88, Knowles 47, Foster 75 – Hamilton 48)

At the final whistle, I headed back out of the ground and up the road to the station, on my way back to the station I found that Shrewsbury had been beaten by a later goal at Bury. The train soon arrived to take me back to Wigan, whilst walking through Wigan I was stopped by a drunk guy who proceeded to tell me that his kebab was terrible, after agreeing not to go to the same takeout, I headed down to the bus stop, and I was soon back on my way to Chorley.

Daisy Hill is a wonderful club, playing in a great ground, one that I would like to visit again in the future. This win sees them progress to the next round of the FA Vase, and I will be keeping an eye out to see who they draw, and if it is local I may go and watch them again. Hopefully Daisy Hill will be able to take this goalscoring form into the league, as they currently reside in 16th place in the NWCFL Division One.

Garforth played well, and the third Daisy Hill goal provided a sucker punch that they couldn’t recover from, which was a shame as they started the second half well, and were the dominant side, until the third goal went in. Garforth’s FA Vase adventure is now over for another season, which will allow them to focus on the league, where they currently sit in 13th place. Hopefully my adventures in groundhopping will one day see me travel to Garforth, as I have heard good things about their ground.

As you’ll have noticed through this blog, I have linked to the Daisy Hill twitter, where they have posted videos of their goals from today’s game. Unfortunately there isn’t a video of the Garforth goal, so you’ll have to take my word for it being a wonderful goal, unless someone has a video of it, and if you do please send me a link as I would love to see that goal again.

Attendance: ?

Cost: £9.30 for travel, £13.30 at the game.

Hat-tricks seen so far: 0

Next game: I’m not sure why I do this, as I constantly change my plans, but it could be any game out of these three: Ashton Athletic vs FC Halifax Town, Atherton LR vs Widnes or Fulwood Amateurs vs Garstang, all on 17/9/16.

Daisy Hill’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/OfficialDHFC

Garforth Town’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheGarforthTown

Pictures: https://www.flickr.com/photos/139632000@N07/albums/72157673623210336


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