The first game in charge of New Mills for managers Gareth Cross and Nick Dowse turned into a disaster at home to strugglers Daisy Hill.
The Westhoughton visitors had won only one of their 18 matches in the Hallmark Security (North-West Counties) League, First Division so far this term, and had banked only seven points.
But they inflicted a humiliating 5-1 defeat on Cross and Dowse’s new troops, whose performance could hardly have been worse on an afternoon to forget.
Daisy Hill were quickly into their stride and should have gone at least one up in the opening exchanges. Jordan Donnelly raced clear, only to lift his shot over the bar. Moments later, a poor clearance by New Mills goalkeeper Lewis Hindley fell invitingly for Michael Gervin, who fired wide of an empty net from 20 yards. And then Gervin again shot wide when well placed as a bad header by defender Michael Jones fell to him.
Somehow the Millers not only survived these missed chances but also took the lead themselves instead. On 23 minutes, Jake Pollard tricked his way past several defensive challenges before driving past the ‘keeper from the edge of the area.
New Mills fans hoped the goal would settle their side down and inspire their first home league victory since mid-September. But within a minute, Daisy Hill were level when a floated free-kick into the area caused panic and as Hindley raced out in vain, the ball was clipped into Thomas McNair, who nodded into an unguarded net from close range.
It stayed 1-1 until the break, but it came as no surprise when the visitors turned the screw with two goals in the first eight minutes of the second period. Jordan Prescott’s deflected effort looped over the helpless Hindley and then a loose clearance by the ‘keeper fell to Gervin, who fired home from 20 yards.
The Millers responded with a period of dominance in which Dennis Sherriff had a goal ruled out for offside. But the glimmer of hope was shortlived because Daisy Hill broke away to make it 4-1 when Gervin smashed home his second from close in.
In a controversial finale, New Mills’s best player on the day, Sam Marshall, was denied a penalty when clattered in the box, and then two players were sent off for dissent -- McNair for the visitors and Jones for the Millers. But it mattered little when Daisy Hill added yet another goal in the closing minutes as substitute Ulrich Mgamba raced clear to round Hindley.
NEW MILLS LINE-UP -- Hindley/ Beswick, Taylor, German, Jones, Gaskin, Pendlebury (Scott), Lofthouse (Cannon), Sherriff, Pollard (Dunn), Marshall. Subs not used: Armstrong, Alexander).