Padiham completed their first Hallmark Security North West Counties Football League double of the season on Wednesday night with a 1-0 home win over Fylde Coast side Squires Gate, but it needed a late goal from James Dean to secure the points.
Right from the opening minutes of the game, it was obvious that goals were going to be hard to come by, with defences on top and forwards unable to convert any of the openings created.
Squires Gate should have done better with their first attempt on goal when a poor back pass let in Benjamin Seear on 19 minutes, only for the visiting striker to pull his shot straight across the face of goal.
The visitors had another opportunity two minutes later when another wayward pass was intercepted, allowing Joseph Noblet the chance to run in on the Storks goal, but once again the finish was poor and his shot at goal blazed over the bar.
On 25 minutes, Padiham created their first real opportunity of the evening after a Garry Hunter cross found Aaron Taylor at the back post, only for the Storks striker to head the chance across the face of the goal and wide.
Dean had a snap shot straight at the visiting keeper Benjamin Fletcher on the half hour mark, and before the interval break arrived Padiham keeper Michael Donlon survived a scramble when he mishandled and needed a second attempt to recover the loose ball.
The visitors had to defend a dangerous ball in from Chris Turner on 57 minutes, while at the other end, Noblet sent an free kick just wide.
A goal looked a possibility on 78 minutes following a ball into Brett Dawson, however Donlon made an important save to keep the visiting strikers effort out, leaving Dean to grab the headlines with his 87th minute close range shot that secured Padiham the win.
Padiham are in FA Vase action away to Guisborough Town FC on Saturday, kick-off 3 p.m.