THERE is an old adage which states defence wins championships, so with that in mind it is little surprise to see Walney Island leading the way in Division Two of the West Lancashire League.

The Islanders have conceded just four goals in eight games while scoring 20 during the same period, helping them to the top of the pile on goal difference from Croston Sports.

Matt Lockey’s goals – four of which came in last Saturday’s 6-1 win at home to Garstang reserves – have played a big part in Walney’s strong start.

But the defence’s contribution is something manager Steve McCullough is particularly proud of, with the likes of Steve Brennan, “Mr 100 Per Cent” Fraser Miles, Matty McKee, summer recruit from Vickerstown Joe Pearson and goalkeeper Jordan Belcher all impressing in a watertight back line so far.

“The back four itself has been pretty regular and that helps,” said McCullough, who believes the experience gained over recent seasons by the players is starting to show.

“Because they’ve been together for a few seasons they’ve gelled as a back five, with Jordan Belcher in goal as well, and they’ve come of age a bit.

“Everyone says to me ‘you’ve got a young side at Walney’, but we’re not anymore.

“These lads have been playing West Lancs for five or six years now and I said to them at the start of the season it’s time to start producing, and to be fair I’ve got a reaction out of them.”

Tomorrow’s fixture for McCullough’s men is a huge contrast as it pits unbeaten Walney against winless Longridge Town reserves in a top-versus-bottom encounter.

McCullough has echoed the sentiments of many managers of other teams in Division Two about how closely-matched their rivals are, knowing anyone can beat anyone on their day.

He can attest to that personally, having seen Walney once beat Croston 8-1 when, going into the match, they had lost four and their opponents had won six.

“Because we’ve been there, we’re mindful it can happen to us as well,” said McCullough.

“We’ve got to make sure everyone’s feet are on the floor and we’re focussed.

“We can play with our front three or four - we known they can cause problems for any team. If we’re solid at the back, we know we’ll score goals.”

Elsewhere, tomorrow marks a special day for Holker Old Boys as they play their 1,000th game in the North West Counties League.

Holker joined the competition ahead of the 1991-92 season and are hoping for a bumper crowd at Rakesmoor Lane for the visit of Garstang to help celebrate.

Saturday's fixtures

North West Counties League First Division North: Holker Old Boys v Garstang.

West Lancashire League Premier Division: Vickerstown v Haslingden St Mary's.

West Lancashire League Division One: Crooklands Casuals v Stoneclough, Eagley v Hawcoat Park, Milnthorpe Corinthians v Askam United, GSK Ulverston Rangers v Lytham Town, Wyre Villa v Millom.

West Lancashire League Division Two: Furness Rovers v Furness Cavaliers, Kendal United v Dalton United, Longridge Town reserves v Walney Island.