Second half of season could get interesting, says Garstang skipper Mark Walling

Garstang skipper Mark Walling thinks it could be an interesting second half of the season in the Northern League Division One.

By Craig Salmon
Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 2:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 2:44 pm

Despite the fact that Blackpool look well on course to lift the title after opening up a 40-point lead at the top, the Riversiders captain believes there still could be a few twists and turns over the next month or so.

Garstang are currently in fourth spot – four points behind second-placed Longridge after getting the better of their local rivals last weekend.

Walling concedes it is going to be a huge ask for any team to catch Blackpool but while there’s a chance, his men will keep going.

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Mark Walling

“Our form at the moment is probably not title-winning form,” said Walling, whose side host Fulwood and Broughton at the weekend.

“Blackpool are quite a way ahead but I suppose if we can get a run on them over the second half of the season.

“They are going to have to lose a few games and a team like ourselves will have to win the majority of our games.

“I think we just need to try to get further up the league and try to push the teams above us.

“If you look, teams are losing to anyone and it’s quite compact from second all the way down to the

bottom. It should make for an interesting finish to the season.”

Walling admits his team are perhaps paying the price for a slow start to the campaign which saw them pick up only one win from the opening month.

They were slightly affected by the late arrival of Indian professional Punit Bisht due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We had a tough start to the season,” he said. “We just did not play well as a team in certain games.

“If you don’t play well as a team then you will end up coming away with a loss.

“We still have enough good players in our squad not to just rely on the professional.

"We did lose a few games at the start but that has been sort of the way this season has gone for us.

“We have won some and lost some so it will be nice to get on some kind of run over the second half of the season.”

Meanwhile, the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division, it remains tight at the top with just one point between leaders Penrith and second-placed Vernon Carus.

Those two have stolen a march on the chasing pack but there is still only 19 points separating the top five teams, who will all have designs of finishing in the top two and winning promotion.

This weekend sees Penrith host Preston, while Vernons take on fifth-placed Kirkham and Wesham at Factory Lane.

Weekend fixtures

Northern League Division One: Chorley v St Annes, Garstang v Fulwood & Broughton, Kendal v Morecambe, Lancaster v Fleetwood, Leyland v Blackpool, Netherfield v Longridge.

Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division: Barrow v Fylde, Great Eccleston v Eccleston, Penrith v Preston, Penwortham v Croston, Thornton Cleveleys v South Shore, Vernon Carus v Kirkham & Wesham.

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