The first ever International matches took place at the magnificent AMEX Stadium in Brighton in May 2018
What a superb and historic occasion this first ever Over 50s and 60s Walking Football International was. The whole weekend was an incredible and unforgettable experience for all involved.
On a momentous day in Brighton, England won the first Walking Football International against Italy 2-0. The England Management Team of Paul Murtagh, David Norton, and Dave Castle were delighted as the hard work and planning came together.
After only one short training session the day before some of their link play was superb. A dominant first half display where Dave Norton and Leggy Mambos Paul Walton had both gone close on number of occasions as the England side laid siege on the Italian goal. Norton received a ball from Ian Ward and slotted home, but the supply from Ward was adjudged to be running. Two minutes before half time another Leggy’s stalwart Neil Evans turned smartly and made no mistake to give the home side the lead.
With plenty of rolling substitutions England continued to dominate, Captain Neil Brown from Herne Bay was running the show continually breaking up play and supplying passes to the dangerous trio of Norton, Walton and Evans as time and again they were thwarted by an excellent Italian keeper. Any momentary breaks by the Italian forwards were dealt with superbly by Darren Bradley whose commanding first half performance was continued by Trevor Hanson the Blackburn Rovers skipper. The only threat to an equaliser came as a deflected shot was superbly saved by Rob Keating.
With only one minute remaining a Norton pass set Walton free and he finished with a cheeky nutmeg to confirm England’s dominance and a 2-0 final result.
After the game Manager Paul Murtagh said,
“Taking into account the length of time this team has been together I was extremely proud of the way that the lads applied themselves to the match. I thought we controlled the game from the moment we kicked off and showed some good pass and move Walking Football throughout.
Brads was immense at the back keeping the Italians at bay on any rare attacks they mounted and the inter-linking movement of the midfield was of a team that had played together for years, not one that had been formed less than 2 weeks ago!
We never allowed the Italians to settle at any point with the forwards proving to be a constant menace, had it not been for the heroics of the Italian No 1 the score could have been more. This is a good start but it’s early days and we need to make sure we keep improving in order to build a bright future for English international Walking Football.”