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DAISY Hill have taken time to settle into the season after a summer rebuild but after finally getting their first win of the season in midweek, they exited the FA Vase at the first time of asking on Saturday.

The Cutters lost a number of players in the off-season, most notably Ashley Stott who, after hitting 43 goals last term, has moved on to North West Counties League First Division rivals Stockport Town.

After collecting two points from a possible 18, they picked up their first win of the season last Monday, Matthew Zajac and Adam Owens scoring as they beat Chadderton 2-0 at New Sirs.

However, Saturday saw Craig Thomas’ men beaten 4-0 in the Vase at South Yorkshire side Parkgate, who will play the winners of Atherton LR or Irlam in the second qualifying round on September 23.

As for Daisy, the manager feels his young squad’s performances have warranted more in terms of points but is under no illusions about the task ahead of him in the coming months.

“Looking at the first few games of the season, we’ve been down to 10 men in quite a few already, with red cards for last-man fouls inside 15 or 20 minutes,” said Thomas.

“One of our big things this season was to work on being a fit team, staying competitive in matches and not conceding too many goals so that we’re always in with a chance in games.

“Up until Saturday against Parkgate we had been doing that.

“We won’t be too despondent though, we’ve had to play against some good teams with 10 men for 70 or so minutes, we’ve got a few of the better teams out of the way and performed pretty well in those matches.”

The Cutters have remained competitive in their games so far, bringing home points from respectable draws at Bacup and Cheadle.

And with funds limited at the club Thomas is hoping blooding Daisy’s youngsters, added to a few experienced heads, will pay off in their bid to remain in the First Division, though no one yet knows where they will have to finish to achieve that.

“The FA have said they’ll possibly be looking at the bottom five or six going down in the restructing that could be coming in this season,” added Thomas. “Our focus is on not getting relegated, it’s going to be tough as a lot of teams have much bigger budgets than ours. We have a few FC United lads and we’ve got good links with Atherton Collieries now, so I hope we can help each other out. Every fan loves an underdog and that is us this season, so let’s see what we can do.”

The Daisies have tricky games against two early pace-setters next, hosting Alsager Town on Saturday and at Prestwich Heys three days later.

Atherton LR’s home match against Irlam in the Vase is to be replayed this evening.

Kick-off at Crilly Park is 7.45pm.