Comeback win sends Walsden title hopes soaring

Cameron Hanson has returned to the Walsden ranks
Cameron Hanson has returned to the Walsden ranks

Walsden C & FC manager Dan Howley is optimistic his men can land the Rochdale Online Alliance title in only their second season of action.

Walsden returned to the fray after a lengthy and frustrating break with a 4-2 home win over Rochdale Sacred Heart on Saturday.

That moved them up to third place in the Premier Division, with games in hand on the teams above them.

Second-placed White Lion’s 4-3 defeat away to Falcon gave them further encouragement while the morale of leaders Woodbank took a knock with a 3-2 home cup defeat against Sudden.

Walsden have had an influx of players from Todmorden Borough.

Stevie Barker and Cameron Hanson play for the cricket club and Harry Whitehead has also joined.

James Peavoy is still on Borough’s books but with the Bellholme side not having a game last weekend he played and scored for Walsden.

All that means Howley is brimming with confidence over his side’s title prospects.

“I think we have a very good chance.

“We haven’t lost in the league since the first two games. Our only loss since was in a cup match before Christmas.

“If we win our games in hand we could go top.”

Walsden are away to in-form Fothergill and Whittles on Saturday and Howley knows his side will have to improve on last weekend’s rusty display.

“It was not a good performance and our passing was poor, although the bobbly pitch didn’t help,” he said.

Howley said Sacred Heart had been even worse than Walsden in the early stages, allowing his side to take the lead through Joe Gale’s header from Matthew Town’s long throw.

Danny Brown slid in to double the lead from Gale’s pull-back but the visitors immediately halved the deficit with a fine team goal.

Gary Brierley made it 3-1 after half time but Sacred Heart again hit back straight away and Walsden were relieved when Peavoy went through and slotted past the ‘keeper approaching the final 10 minutes.