Boss targets big finish

Walsden C & FC's Dan Howley
Walsden C & FC's Dan Howley

Dan Howley, Walsden C & FC’s new boss, is hoping for some home success as the Rochdale Online Alliance side put the finishes touches to a promising first season.

Walsden were left without a manager when Steve Sale resigned late last year, leaving Paul Marrow trying to run the side while still playing.

The 23-year-old Howley normally plays at left back but he is sidelined with a leg injury and offered to take charge for the remaining five league games.

Walsden were unable to give him a first win last Saturday, when they bowed out of the President’s Cup by 3-2 to high-flying Balderstone, but Howley is hoping success is around the corner.

The former Jacks House, Rossendale United and Todmorden Borough player said Walsden would be looking to finish with a flourish and added: “If we manage to win our home games that will be OK.”

Walsden are 10 points clear of the bottom two and six points in front of third-from--bottom Rochdale Sacred Heart, having been pitched in among the league’s top sides in the Premier Division.

Team secretary Kenny Gale said Howley would control things from the sidelines on match days and Marrow would still have a say with team selection.

“Dan said he would do the job because he is not playing but still wanted to be involved.

“A volunteer is better than 10 pressed men.”

Last Saturday’s cup quarter final was switched to the 3G pitch at Kingsway Sports Centre when it became clear on Thursday that Walsden’s ground was not going to be fit.

The visitors quickly adjusted to the surface and were left to rue not really pressing home their advantage in the first 40 minutes.

Danny Brown hit a post and the Balderstone keeper made some good saves before finally being beaten by Joe Gale’s superb left-footed strike after cutting in from the right.

Balderstone equalised just before the break, when Walsden claimed ‘keeper Jamie Shackleton’s view was obscured by an offside opponent.

The home side had the upper hand in the second half, going 2-1 up after the break but then having a man dismissed for a second yellow card with 20 minutes left.

Brown intercepted a back pass and made it 2-2 with five minutes to go but Balderstone scored a clincher with two minutes on the clock.

Sam Holt and the Gale brothers, Joe and Josh, were outstanding for Walsden, who have no game this weekend.