FOLLOWING their impressive fightback at home to promotion-chasing Prestwich Heys, it is clear Daisy Hill will not be giving up their place in First Division North without a battle.

The Daisies fell 2-0 behind to fifth-placed Heys and after Jamie Ramwell had halved the deficit, the visitors struck again and looked like going into the break 3-1 ahead.

But perennial goalscorer Ashley Stott converted a penalty just before the break and Hensley Mills secured Daisy’s third straight draw with an equaliser eight minutes from time.

A point at home may not be the ideal reward for a side still in the two relegation places but manager Brian Hart insists there are grounds for optimism at New Sirs as Daisy prepare for the run-in and a bid to make up ground on the teams above them.

“We seem to have turned a bit of a corner and we’re battling hard, just like we did on Saturday,” Hart told The Bolton News. “The Holker game last month was a bit of a turning point. We lost that game 3-0 but I’m not sure how, we should definitely have come away with a point but it showed them the hard graft that’s needed, and we’ve been playing some good stuff since then.

“We’ve been a bit unlucky to have drawn the last three games, if we can convert those draws into wins we’ll be okay. Saturday was the first time I’ve got a point against Prestwich Heys, so I can’t complain about it.

“Availability has been our biggest problem, especially when you’re having to change your back four around.

“We’ve had a few players missing and we’ve had to put scratch teams out a couple of times but it’s an opportunity for others coming in and they’ve put a shift in so I’m pleased with them.”

That sick list includes defender Josh Fairhurst and goalkeeper Ashley Hall, neither of which are expected to feature over the remaining eight league games.

However, when the Daisies next take to the field, to face Ashton Town on March 2, they may have Ellis Worrall and Alex Guest back after their long spells out with a broken collarbone and broken ankle, respectively.

Among those coming in are Mohamad Samha and Jacob Ncube, both both exciting young talents who made their debuts against Prestwich.

The much-welcome lay-off over the next couple of weeks could prove crucial as Daisy look to make up the ground on a couple of clubs still in possible danger.

Third-bottom Holker Old Boys have a game in hand but are just a point ahead of Hart’s side and St Helens Town are three further points ahead. And, once he starts to face selection headaches of a different kind, the manager feels they are more than capable of hauling themselves away from danger.

“We’ve been through the wringer a bit but we’ve got players coming back now,” Hart added. “The pitches have been heavy in recent months but they seem to be improving.

“And we’ve got a great team spirit, the players have bonded together over a difficult season.

“We’ve got a very young squad – probably too young for this level – but we do have Ashley Stott, he’s a real talisman for us and as well as getting goals regularly he is someone the younger lads all look up to.

“With a young squad and with where we are in the table we go into just about every game as the underdogs, and that is fine with us – if other teams want to write us off and get a surprise that’s okay.

“All we can do from here is get the players all together and have a big push.

“We’ve got the commitment and passion and we’ll give it a good go.”

The Daisies’ neighbours Atherton LR remain rooted to the foot of the table following their 6-0 defeat at home to Ashton Town.

Rovers will welcome Garstang to Crilly Park this Saturday.

Cup weekend in the West Lancashire League pitted local rivals Turton and Tempest United against each other in round two of the Richardson Cup.

Following a goalless stalemate, hosts Turton eventually triumphed 3-1 on penalties.

CMB also progressed via a shootout, beating Lytham Town 5-3 in the President’s Cup after Jack Francis and Luke Killeen had scored in a 2-2 draw.

Stoneclough fared less well from the spot as they were knocked out by Wyre Villa, who edged their shootout 3-1 after a 1-1 draw.

Eagley were also eliminated, with a 2-1 defeat at Ulverston Rangers, while Division Two leaders Horwich St Mary’s Victoria were knocked out of the Challenge Cup as they lost 3-1 at Dalton United.

In the Lancashire Amateur League Premier Division struggling Thornleigh gave their survival prospects a shot in the arm with a 4-2 win at home to Old Boltonians.

Elsewhere, there were defeats for Little Lever – 2-0 at Old Mancunians – and Blackrod Town, who lost 4-1 at Failsworth Dynamos.

Bolton Wyresdale took another step towards the Division One title with a 2-1 win at Radcliffe Town but Horwich RMI were edged out by the odd goal in seven at Chaddertonians.

There were defeats for Bolton County and Breightmet in the Manchester League.

County had substitute Jonathan Smalley sent off in their 5-1 loss at East Manchester in the Premier Division and Breightmet were defeated 7-1 at home to Rochdale Sacred Heart Reserves in Division Two.

In Division One Bolton Lads and Girls Club drew 1-1 at Wilmslow Albion.