Daisy Hill clinched their place the semi-final of the Bolton Hospital Cup with a 4-2 win over Walshaw Sports at the Plumb Factory Stadium on Saturday, writes Ian Templeman.

First half goals from Sam Twist, Ben Unsworth and a Jake O’Brien penalty, countered by a spot kick from Walshaw’s Sam Howe, gave Daisy a 3-1 lead at the break.

Nick Hepple then added a fourth goal before the hour to put Daisy in the driving seat, but they had goalkeeper Morgan Newns to thank for keeping a determined Walshaw side at bay.

The Daisy custodian made a string of fine saves to deny the spirited visitors who piled on the pressure, although he was eventually beaten by a Callum Benson strike two minutes from time that reduced the arrears.

Daisy coach Ryan Fitzpatrick admitted afterwards that it had been a hard fought win.

“We have a lot of injuries, and had players who haven’t trained and some who haven’t played together much, and that was a massive factor in how the game panned out”, said Fitzpatrick.

“It wasn’t easy, but the lads dug in and fortunately it was one of those games where our keeper Morgan Newns was on top form. He was absolutely outstanding and made some great saves.

“Walshaw had some good players up front, but we dealt with that, got the win and that’s what matters.”

He added: “It’s the semi final now (against Eagley on Wednesday evening) and it’s been a while since Daisy Hill lifted a trophy, and that is a real motivation for us, the lads all want to do well.

“But Eagley are a good side, who have had a good season and play good football so they will be coming into the semi final full of confidence, and we have to try and counter that”.

The game turned out to be a cracking cup tie that provided terrific entertainment for the watching spectators, with a plethora of chances created at both ends as both sides were committed to attack from the start.

The first chance of the game fell to Walshaw, with a great block from Glenn Matthews denying Walshaw’s Sam Howe the opening goal, and shortly afterwards Daisy’s first opportunity was created by Harvey Roberts, who found Hepple with a through ball which the striker collected and tested Walshaw keeper Dalton with a shot that the keeper pushed away.

But Daisy took the lead on 10 minutes when Twist picked up a poor clearance wide on the left, raced forward and placed a shot into the far corner of the net.

The lead was doubled in the 24th minute when a 30 yard shot from Ben Unsworth found its way through a congested penalty area and crept just inside the far post.

But eight minutes later Walshaw got a foothold back in the game when Lewis Benson was tripped in the box by Matthews, and Sam Howe converted the resulting spot kick to bring the score back to 2-1.

However, Daisy had a penalty of their own two minutes later when Alex Dodd was bundled over in the box by Regan Jarrett and regular penalty taker Jake O’Brien restored the two goal advantage.

It seemed that Daisy had put the game to bed when they added a fourth goal 12 minutes into the second half, when a neat through ball played Hepple in on goal and he beat the keeper with a neat flick into the unguarded net.

But to their credit, Walshaw refused to throw in the towel, and it was only an inspired display from Daisy goalkeeper Newns that kept them at bay.

The list of saves grew as the half wore on, with Newns pushing away a Dylan McMahon shot, then making a great block from a Howe shot before denying the same player in a one-on-one four minutes later.

McMahon was next to be frustrated by Newns, when the keeper firstly dived full length to get his fingertips to a well placed header, and then reacted quickly to push away a well struck shot.

But eventually Walshaw got the goal that their second half performance deserved, when a long range shot from Callum Benson sneaked its way through a ruck of players into the far corner of the net, to put a fairer reflection on the final score.

The two semi finals in the Bolton Hospital Cup will be played this week, with Daisy Hill facing Eagley tomorrow night at Crilly Park in Atherton, and Daisy will host the second semi-final at the Plumb Factory Stadium on Thursday evening, when Atherton LR will take on CMB.

The winners will progress to the final which will be played at the Neuven Stadium in Radcliffe on Friday, May 17.