Homeless Walsden head to Firgrove

Gary Brierley scored twice for Walsden, including a spectacular effort
Gary Brierley scored twice for Walsden, including a spectacular effort

Walsden C and FC will play Saturday’s game against White Lion at Firgrove Playing Fields, Milnrow with no solution in sight in their long-running search for a home pitch.

The club’s hopes of trying to persuade Calderdale Council officials to let them use the Walsden Rec ground across the road from the cricket club for a second season appear to be fading.

Todmorden Sports juniors have been granted extra use of the Rec because of flood alleviation work at Centre Vale but only play games on Sundays.

Seeing the pitch in good condition and unused on several fine Saturdays has been infuriating for Walsden secretary Kenny Gale.

Walsden have so far played all their Rochdale Online Alliance games away, giving up home advantage in two of them, but Gale knows they need to resolve the issue.

Rivals Todmorden Borough, who folded their reserves mid-way through last season after Walsden’s team had been formed, are unwilling or unable to accommodate them on the two pitches at Bellholme.

Calderdale Council has offered Walsden use of Calder Holmes, currently used by Hollins Holme on a Sunday.

However, Gale says Rochdale Alliance officials don’t want Walsden to play there because it would mean an extra five miles for most visiting teams to travel.

Todmorden High School only wants junior teams on its pitches and Littleborough Sports Centre’s pitches are block booked on Saturday afternoons.

That has left Walsden to book a pitch at Firgrove for Saturday, something Gale said was far from ideal.

“It will cost us £74 for the pitch and by the time you have paid the referee it is suddenly £100 for a game of football.”

Gale described it as “a silly situation” with only two senior Saturday sides left in the area but nowhere for Walsden to play.

He said yesterday that key figures at the football club would be meeting later in the day to discuss the situation.

The team, meanwhile, is going great guns. Walsden made it four wins on the bounce on Saturday when they won 5-3 away to White Lion, previously unbeaten in the top section and 8-2 winners in their previous outing.

Walsden’s cricketers elected not to head to Leeds for an end-of-season party until after the game and were rewarded with three points from an up-and-down contest.

The visitors were again sluggish in the first half but still turned round with a 1-0 lead, courtesy of a great strike from Johnny Sutcliffe.

Sutcliffe paved the way for Gary Brierley to double the lead after the break, only for White Lion to score three goals in 15 minutes.

The first appeared to go in off an attacker’s hand and that unsettled Walsden, who continued to get caught out by the long ball.

Boss Dan Howley made changes and within five minutes Danny Brown made it 3-3 from the spot after being brought down by the ‘keeper following Joe Gale’s ball over the top.

Walsden regained the lead when the home ‘keeper palmed the ball into his own net from Matthew Town’s long throw and the home custodian, under pressure from Joe Gale, then mis-kicked and Brierley scored with a spectacular first-time effort.

Howley hopes to have a full strength side available for Saturday’s rematch with Lion.

Walsden CC are holding an informal sporting evening on Friday, November 14 (7.0) featuring a question and answer session with former Premier League referee Mark Halsey.

It will be hosted by Peter Smith, a Sky Sports match reporter and there will be an auction of signed football memorabilia. Tickets are £10.

Woodhouse United bowed out of the Halifax Fa Sunday Cup, losing 4-3 at home to Beehive and Cross Keys.