CHRIS Ridehalgh’s third goal of the season earned Padiham a 1-0 victory over local rivals Colne in a pulsating Premier Division encounter played in driving wind and rain on Tuesday night.
The Storks played up the Holt House slope in the first half but felt as though they should have benefitted from an early advantage when Colne goalkeeper Andrew Moore raced out of his area before taking Padiham striker Jordan Hulme down with a lunging challenge in the third minute. However, Moore escaped a caution as referee Ian Johnston waved play on to give the home side a massive let-off.
The two players then went head-to-head again when Hulme’s shot on the turn was saved by Moore in the 12th minute. The home side’s shot stopper was called in to action again moments later to save Michael Morrison’s shot from the left before dealing with a wayward defensive header from centre half Billy Priestly.
The breakthrough for Padiham arrived in the 32nd minute when Ed O’Neill released Morrison on the right and his drilled centre skimmed across the face of goal in to the path of Ridehalgh who ghosted in at the back post to side foot the ball in to an empty net.
Colne had a good chance to equalise on the stroke of half-time when a left wing cross found Andrew Tinker unmarked but his header failed to test Padiham keeper Sean Davis.
John Blackley made a last ditch tackle at the start of the second half to prevent Tinker getting a shot away and in the home side’s next attack Priestley headed wide from a corner.
Tinker missed another great chance to level proceedings on the hour when he blazed over from close range after the ball was cut back in to his path. The same player was then guilty of yet another miss five minutes later and at this stage Colne must have realised that it wasn’t to be their night.
Craig Chadwick’s men battled until the end and nearly scored a second when Lee Morris had a shot tipped around the post by Moore who then saved another Morris effort close to the full-time whistle.
Padiham are at home to Alsager Town in a re-arranged league fixture tomorrow with kick-off at 3 p.m.
Elsewhere, five goals from Zac Dale helped Padiham U18s to a crunching 12-3 win away at Blue Star Lads in the East Lancashire Alliance Youth League.
Connor Anderson grabbed a brace in the rout while Gareth Hill, Andy Hill, David Wright, Steve Cassidy and Matty Ashworth etched their names on the scoresheet in the first game of the season.
Padiham U12s were also involved in a high scoring game but unfortunately they were on the wrong end of a 12-1 scoreline against Mill Hill at Fennyfold. They were later subjected to a 7-1 defeat away to Whalley.
And Padiham Ladies travelled to Cumbria to face Penrith AFC Ladies in the North West Womens’ Regional Football League and returned home with a share of the points after drawing 1-1.
Charlotte Holden put the Storks ahead in the 22nd minute only for the hosts to equalise nine minutes before the interval.