Walsden manager sets treble traget after double season

Walsden C & FC players celebrate getting their hands on a second Rochdale Online Alliance trophy
Walsden C & FC players celebrate getting their hands on a second Rochdale Online Alliance trophy

Walsden C & FC boss Dan Howley will demand even more from his double-winning side next season.

His players saved their best for last when they thrashed Rochdale Asia 5-1 in last Saturday’s President’s Cup final at Rochdale Town FC.

The Scott Street side were making it a quick double having beaten Fothergill and Whittles 3-0 in the Chairman’s Cup final at the same ground eight days earlier.

The Rochdale Online Alliance title is the one that got away and Howley is confident his side can step up from the runners-up berth and relieve Fothergill and Whittles of the silverware next time around.

“We’ll be looking for the treble next season - nothing less,” said Howley, who added that the Walsden side which had finished the season was much stronger than the one which had started it.

Howley expects to have the same side for 2015-16 if central midfielder Danny Welsh can be persuaded to put off retirement for another year.

“He’s a very good footballer and a calming influence in the team,” added the manager.

Howley said it had been a brilliant season with their President’s Cup final display the high point. “It was our best performance,” he said.

“We passed the ball really well. There was a lot of one-touch football and we were too good for them.

“We showed our dominance in the first 10 minutes and they didn’t get a look in.”

On a warm sunny afternoon, Walsden made their intentions clear from the first whistle as they moved the ball around the large playing area with speed and accuracy.

With barely five minutes on the clock Paul Marrow switched the ball wide to Gary Brierley, who went past his marker and crossed low for the Premier Division’s top scorer Danny Brown to open the scoring from six yards.

Walsden poured forward. Jonathan Sutcliffe was denied by Asia ‘keeper Mohammed Usman Rauf, Brierley fired over and Rauf denied Sutcliffe again moments later.

Walsden increased their lead on 14 minutes as skipper Matthew Town’s deep cross was headed home by Brierley at the back post.

Asia mounted their first threats but Harry Whitehead and Welsh were solid in the heart of the Walsden defence.

Walsden went 3-0 up on 28 minutes when Brown headed in Josh Gale’s cross.

The lead certainly did not flatter Walsden but Asia had their best spell late in the half.

Two superb interventions from James Peavoy preserved Walsden’s lead in the early stages of the second half .

Asia had to gamble and a side of Walsden’s counter attacking quality punished them on 58 minutes when Brown’s slide rule cross to Marrow saw Rauf make a great close range save, only for the ball to fall kindly for Brierley to net his second.

Four became five within two minutes as Brown again confounded Asia’s square back line with a well timed run to round Rauf and roll the ball into the net for his hat trick, and 19th goal of the season.

Omar Malik was foiled by Glynn Claxton and Brown by the post before Malik netted a consolation goal on 72 minutes.

Mohammed Imran headed just over and substitute Lee O’Neill also missed a chance to further reduce the deficit while Marrow also missed the target.

John Culshaw presented the President’s Cup to Matthew Town and the man of the match award to Peavoy.