Walsden bid for a big finish to first football campaign

Paul Marrow scored twice and was in the thick of the action for Walsden
Paul Marrow scored twice and was in the thick of the action for Walsden

Walsden C & FC bid to round off an excellent first season in the Rochdale Online Alliance with victory at Whitworth Valley on Saturday (2.0).

It is a big ask, as Valley are third and have only lost four games, but Dan Howley’s side are in great heart after a 4-1 victory over King William IV in their final home game.

Walsden, now fourth in the table, had a bare 11 players for their penultimate Premier Division game and that included veteran Stu Hanson, who partnered his son Cameron at centre half.

Paul Marrow moved up front to partner Marc Walters and Barnes played wide on the left.

Walsden had only scraps of possession early on and King William took the lead after 15 minutes when a free kick was knocked into the area. ‘Keeper Jamie Shackleton was caught by an onrushing forward who knocked the loose ball into the net. Walsden claims for a foul fell on deaf ears.

Walsden started to get a foot hold with Nick Barker and Jonny Sutcliffe seeing more of the ball down the right.

Gary Brierley fired in a 25-yard kick which the ‘keeper failed to stop going into the net, the on-rushing Marrow probably distracting him. Walsden added a quick second when a corner was floated over for Marrow to head home.

Nathan Rooks, Gary Brierley, Barker and both Hansons made plenty of tackles in the last 15 minutes of the half to ensure the visitors retained their lead.

On the hour the visiting No 10 took a swing at Marrow and got his marching orders.

The visitors tried to disrupt play but with the extra space, Thomas Barnes, Walters and Sutcliffe began to control the game more.

With 20 minutes to go another Brierley free kick was sent to the back post and Marrow stroked home his second.

King William tempers frayed but Walsden kept cool and Shackleton was reduced to just sweeping up as the visitors pumped the ball forward.

On 80 minutes, one of several corners was cleared to Cameron Hanson whose low shot from 20 yards found the corner of the net.

It was a good all-round performance from everyone and Hanson senior didn’t look out of place alongside players 20 years his junior.