Daisy Hill and Atherton LR had to settle for a point apiece after their derby clash at the Plumb Factory Stadium ended in a 2-2 draw on Monday afternoon.

Luke Nicholls gave LR an ninth-minute lead in the North West Counties League First Division North clash, but within two minutes Daisy were back level when Ryan Talbot fired home his 16th goal of the season.

An own goal from LR captain Connor Ikin three minutes before half time gave Daisy a 2-1 lead at the break, but Atherton substitute Daniel Lenahan levelled the scores midway through the second half.

Both sides had chances to win the game late on, but in the end the final score was a repeat of the result when the teams last met on Boxing Day, and afterwards Daisy manager Lee Hill felt that a draw was probably a fair outcome on the day.

“I think over the 90 minutes today and the 180 minutes over both games this season, there’s not been a lot between the teams,” said Hill.

“The game was played in an aggressive but fair manner, the way a game should be played, and both teams had chances to win it. But in the end, I think a draw was a fair result.

“Both teams fought hard and kind of cancelled one another out at times.

“At half time, the big message to the players was that too many times this season we’ve gone in at the break either leading or on top, and in the second half we’ve not gone on to win.

“The reaction was good, we absorbed a lot of pressure and I thought we settled into the game well, although the second goal was a sloppy one to lose, and we should have dealt with the cross better.

“But if you are playing against a team who are second in the league like LR, who are winning a lot of games, you have to be happy with taking a point.

“They are not second in the league or nothing, they are a good side with good players, but our lads were a bit deflated in the dressing room afterwards, which says a lot about them.

“Once again, we’ve taken points from one of the top teams in the league, which shows what we can do on our day.”

Both teams were on the front foot from the start, and LR created the first chance of the game when Alfie Walker curled a free-kick just wide of the far post in the fourth minute.

However, five minutes later the visitors took the lead, when a neat through ball played Nicholls in on goal, and he beat the advancing Daisy keeper Morgan Newns with a cool finish.

Within two minutes Daisy equalised with a well-worked goal, a move down the right leading to Jamie Ramwell cutting the ball back into the path of Talbot to side-foot home from 10 yards.

The next chance fell to LR when Newns made a great block from a close-range Lewis Rawsthorn shot, but as the half wore on Daisy had the better opportunities.

From a throw-in, Ramwell set up Blerti Jacaj for a shot that went wide, Henry Chalkley headed over after a Dario Co shot was blocked, and then Ramwell had a cracking shot pushed away by LR keeper, Joseph Bickerstaffe.

But Daisy finally made a breakthrough three minutes before half time, when a free-kick was floated into the box and LR centre-half Ikin headed the ball past his own keeper under pressure from an aerial challenge by Talbot.

LR emerged in determined mood after the break, and after Brandon Dawson fired a shot over the bar, Ikin just failed to connect with a free-kick curled into the box.

But the visitors were always vulnerable to the counter attack, and Ramwell almost added a third goal for Daisy midway through the second half when he won a chase for a long ball, rounded the keeper but saw his shot cleared off the line.

However, with 20 minutes remaining LR equalised, when a cross delivered deep to the far post was tapped in from close range by substitute Lenahan.

Both teams pushed forward in search of a winner, with Daisy’s best chances coming when a Tom Brown free-kick was headed wide by Jacaj, and then five minutes from time, a beautifully-weighted Talbot pass sent substitute Basit Yusuff in on goal but his shot was well blocked by Bickerstaffe.

Deep into stoppage time, the pacy Walker had a chance to win the game for LR, but he sent an angled shot from inside the box just wide of the far post.

Daisy’s next game is on Thursday night when they host Tempest United at the Plumb Factory Stadium in the first round of the Bolton Hospital Cup (7.45pm).