AFTER nearly 17 years playing for Dalton United across two separate spells, Gareth Jones still has that magic goal-scoring touch.

The 38-year-old striker was at it again last Saturday, netting in the 3-1 Challenge Cup quarter-finals win at home to West Lancashire League Division Two leaders Horwich St Mary’s Victoria.

His 19th goal of the season in all West Lancs competitions took him to the milestone of 500 for the Railway Meadow club as well, but Jones admitted he did not realise he had reach that tally until afterwards and was happy just to contribute to the win.

“As I’m getting older, I’m appreciating I’m getting a lot of nice milestones, but I didn’t realise it was 500 for Dalton,” said Jones.

“Saturday was good just to get the result because they’re top of the league.

“To go 3-0 up, it made it a bit more comfortable for us and it was good timing to get it just before half time.”

After joining from Askam United aged 18, Jones’ first spell at Dalton saw him become a regular scorer in the West Lancs Premier Division, earning a move to Barrow AFC where he spent two season followed by one at Kendal Town.

Even missing a season after suffering a potentially career-ending neck injury in 2009 did not blunt his scoring instincts and although he admits his body sometimes struggles as he approaches 39, Jones is happy at Dalton.

“I had to take my time and I was on the bench for most of the season, but I stuck at it and managed to play regularly before moving on to Barrow and Kendal,” said Jones.

“I came back to Dalton and I’ve stayed here, and there’s been no reason for me to go elsewhere.

“I know we’ve slipped down the leagues now, but I’m getting a bit older so it’s a bit more difficult.”

The line-up for the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup will be confirmed tomorrow, with Furness Cavaliers and Walney Island aiming to join Dalton in the last four when they head to Galgate and Garstang reserves respectively.

Jones has not decided whether or not to carry on playing after the 2018/19 season, so a trophy would be the perfect way for him to sign off.

But above personal glory, the forward would be delighted to see the team enjoy some success after recent on-field struggles.

“As a club, we haven’t had as much success recently so it’s a good opportunity,” said Jones.

“We’ve got a good set of young players, a good management team and it’s a good club, so it would be nice to get some silverware.

“It’s not going to be easy because the teams left in will be difficult, but fingers crossed we can get a bit of silverware.”