Padiham dropped to 19th in the Northern Premier League First Division North hierarchy after enduring their third consecutive defeat - all at the Arbories - against New Mills.
Following losses to both Farsley and Mossley in previous weeks the Storks were looking to get back on track but those hopes were dashed by a number of contentious decisions made by referee Richard Holmes.
The game itself started badly for Padiham when they conceded the opening goal after just five minutes. Daniel Douglas Pringle initiated the move that brought the goal when his shot was saved by Storks keeper Sean Davis but he responded well to touch the loose ball in to the path of Michael Fish at the back post who fired home unchallenged.
The home side were fortunate not to fall further behind in the 13th minute when a poor clearance gifted New Mills winger Daniel Grimshaw possession but his chipped effort over the head of Davis struck the upright.
Grimshaw was in the thick of things again five minutes later, but this time Davis made a smart save to thwart him.
Padiham began to get a foothold in the game midway through the first half with Mark Sharples testing New Mills keeper Peter Collinge in the 25th minute with an attempt from the edge of the box.
But the talking point of the first half arrived when match official Holmes failed to award the Storks a spot kick when Ashley Carter was clearly pulled back inside the penalty area as he forced Collinge in to a save in the run up to half-time.
After the interval, Padiham’s first attack nearly produced a well-worked equaliser when Louis Mayers’ left-sided cross fell perfectly for Ben Allen but the striker could only power his header straight at Collinge who somehow held on to the effort.
Collinge continued to be kept busy by Padiham’s pressure and denied the hosts with saves that kept out a Carter header and Allen’s volley.
Then, the match official had another huge impact on the fixture when once again waving away Padiham’s appeals for another clear cut penalty, this time on the hour mark when Dominic Craig was the victim of being hauled back inside the box.
However, with 15 minutes remaining Holmes awarded the visitors a spot kick that effectively settled the outcome of the game. A horrendous goal kick from Davis went straight to Fish and as the striker broke in to the box he was dragged down by the Storks keeper. Fish picked himself up to convert the resulting spot kick to make it 2-0.
Craig set up a grand stand finish in the 83rd minute after he cleverly rounded Collinge to fire in to an empty net to reduce the deficit. But with two little time remaining, Padiham were unable to snatch a point.
Elsewhere, Padiham reserves crashed out of the North West Counties divisional cup competition at the quarter-final stage after suffering a 3-1 loss to Barnoldswick Town after extra-time.
The Storks, who had won the trophy for the previous two seasons, went a goal behind after only five minutes before Sam Whittaker equalised 10 minutes before the break.
With the tie ending 1-1 after 90 minutes, extra-time was played which saw Padiham reduced to 10 men following the dismissal of Tom Walsh for two bookable offences. The game then swung in Town’s favour and they scored twice to progress to the semi-final.
Goals from Corey Cooke and Liam Bryne earned Padiham Under 18s a point in a 2-2 draw away at Nelson in the East Lancashire Alliance Youth League while the under 14s side lost 4-3 at the hands of Langho.
Meanwhile, Padiham FC Ladies beat Penrith Ladies 4-0 at home in the North West Womens Regional League cup competition.
Leah Hart scored twice while Emma Frith and Becky Hayton also struck for the Storks.
And their reward for beating Burnley FC Ladies in the Lancashire FA Challenge Cup is a semi-final tie with the county’s senior ladies team Blackburn Rovers FC Ladies on Sunday, January 19th.