Daisy Hill 3 St Helens Town 4.

ST HELENS Town recorded their second win of the season at The New Sirs on Saturday, but they were pushed all the way by a spirited Daisy Hill side under a new managerial appointment, writes Glyn Jones.

Following heavy lunchtime rain, the pitch only just passed a pre-match inspection, with standing water in places, but this made for an exciting contest, with the Daisy Hill defenders under constant early pressure, finding it difficult to keep their feet against the quick St. Helens forwards, boosted by the return of Paul Cliff, who had re-joined the club for a third spell from Litherland REMYCA.

It was Cliff himself who opened the scoring after 10 minutes, with a shot from 20 yards, which clipped the underside of a defender’s boot, the deflection taking the ball just out of home keeper Craig Haynes’ reach.

It was not long before St. Helens increased their lead to 2-0, when Danny Lomax let fly from 30 yards and his brilliant, curling shot again took the ball past Haynes’ despairing dive. Man-of-the-match Shaun Brady, finding the conditions very much to his liking, burst clear to set up a chance for Alex Ashby, but his header went just over the bar and, minutes later, the same combination linked up again to force a good save from Haynes.

At the other end, Adam Fairchild showed what he could do, producing a diving save from James Sloane, then Liam Dodd had a towering header saved by Haynes as the chances continued to flow end-to-end. Brady then burst through again, bringing Haynes into action again but within seconds, the Town forward gave the keeper no chance as he lashed in his side’s third goal on 38 minutes.

St. Helens appeared to be cruising to a big victory at this stage but then, out of the blue, on 41 minutes, Daisy Hill hit back with an opportunistic strike from their best player, Michael Gervin, who scored impressively from 20 yards. Fairchild had no chance with that one, but he pulled off a wonderful save from an overhead kick as half-time approached and the teams left the field with Town 3-1 up.

The first 15 minutes of the second-half saw St. Helens under pressure and it was no surprise when Daisy Hill halved the gap to 3-2 when former Town player Adam Owens netted five minutes after the break from a tight angle.

However, St Helens weathered the storm and appeared to have secured all three points when Brady scored his second goal after 65 minutes, tapping in Ashby’s cross, but when Ellis Worrall headed home in a packed penalty box in added time, then Fairchild pulled off a good save under pressure from substitute Danny Warburton with a number of players running in for the loose ball, there were several heart-stopping moments for the Town staff before they could breathe a collective sigh of relief.

With results elsewhere, including Eccleshall’s draw at Nelson, Town now rise to 18th place in the table, but within reach of several teams in the mid-table positions.

They have had a difficult start to the season and whilst they have lost 7 out of 10 games played, three of those were to the top three in the table and only one defeat was by more than two goals. Only three games have been at home and they are still seeking their first home win.

It might come this Saturday, when Chadderton visit Ruskin Drive (kick-off 3pm).

The Oldham-based team are possibly in a false position, as they have played nearly all their games away from their Andrew Street home, having had to re-seed their pitch over the summer months and wait until September until they could play on it.

On Wednesday, St. Helens travel to Barrow to play Holker Old Boys in the First Division Cup First Round (North).

Holker are struggling this season, but a midweek trip to Furness is often difficult to arrange, with some players unavailable through work and university commitments.

However, should Town get through, they have a home tie in the Second Round, against the winners of the Daisy Hill v Litherland REMYCA game, which would be played on Thursday, 2 November.

Town’s Liverpool Senior Cup game, also at home against Litherland REMYCA, has now been arranged the week before that, namely Thursday, 26th October.