LOUTH Town failed to give retiring manager Paul Walden the send-off he’d hoped for as they fell to a 2-1 home defeat in their final league game against Rossington Main at Park Avenue on Saturday.
Walden had surprised everyone by announcing on Thursday that he would turn his back on football after the game, and Matt Kennedy’s late consolation was not enough to earn Town a share of the points on the day.
After early pressure William McGhie put the visitors ahead after just ten minutes, finishing well after a defensive mix up.
Town had chances of their own as they pushed for the equaliser, with Walden on the touchline roaring his side on.
But on the stroke of half time it was 2-0 to Rossington when a back pass from Mark Wood was collected by goalkeeper Craig Wherry, resulting in an indirect free kick from eight yards. The ball was touched on to Jon Mirfin who fired past Wherry.
Wood thundered a free kick off the post before Craig Dalton headed over, and Matthew Appleby missed a further chance before Elliot Broughton finally found some quality for Town. After wriggling through down the right he pulled back for Matt Kennedy to hammer home his fifth of the season.
But a consolation was all it was as defeat in front of Town’s biggest home league crowd of the campaign meant Town stay 11th but teams below them still have a game to play.
Outgoing boss Walden said: “The time was right to call it a day, it’s been the hardest season of my career but my time at Louth has been the best I’ve had.
“My business is very busy and I want to spend more time with my family, I’ve had 20 great years in football.”
Walden revealed he’d turned down an offer of a three-year deal from an unknown United Counties club before making his decision. He added: “I’ll miss the job but I’ve told Steve (Clarke) I’ll help in any way I can, and I believe next season this club can win the league.”
Walden paid tribute to the White Wolves fans, he said the supporters have been ‘fantastic and have made it all worthwhile’.
Club Chairman Steve Clarke said the search for the new manager would begin immediately.
“Paul will be greatly missed,” he said.
“He’s brought success to the club, with the league titles and cup wins, as well as the FA Cup run this season.
“We’re a progressive club and the job will hopefully attract a lot of interest.”
After Saturday’s game awards were handed out for Manager’s Player of the Year, Dan Pawson, Players’ Player of the Year, Steve Norton, and Supporters’ Player of the Year, Carl Martin.
Follow www.louthleader.co.uk through the summer as the search for Walden’s successor continues and Town prepare for the new season.