PADIHAM left Flixton’s Valley Road Ground disappointed with their own performance on Saturday, but even more disappointed at the rutted playing surface that the game was played on.
It was obvious even before a ball had been kicked that a passing game would be out of the question, and that if players were not careful, the chance of an injury could be high - an observation that was borne out on the stroke of half-time when Flixton’s Patrick McFadden dislocated his ankle after landing on the uneven surface, and requiring hospital treatment.
The game itself was not a memorable one, but apart from two efforts from the hosts’ Brian Matthews, the Storks bossed the opening 30 minutes.
On eight minutes, a long clearance from John Blackley found Jordan Hulme, whose cross from the edge of the area found Dominic Slaven, who fired just over.
Two minutes later, Stuart Telfer’s right-wing cross to the near post was met by Hulme, but his effort was deflected for a corner.
Shortly after, a throughball into the path of Hulme nearly paid off, but Flixton keeper James Jowsey did well to claim the ball at the second attempt.
Just before the half hour, Padiham should have taken the lead when a Hulme shot was spilled by Jowsey, and first Telfer, and then Shaun Carey wasted great chances to force the ball in from close range.
Flixton made Padiham pay when, in their next attack, they won a corner and took the lead when Chris Smith powered his header past Sean Davis to give the hosts the lead.
They doubled their advantage shortly after when, after a clearance from a Padiham corner, Brian Matthews outpaced the Storks defence before cutting in from the right and sending an effort past Davis.
The second half kicked off, only to be stopped seven minutes later for the ambulance to finally arrive and stretcher away McFadden, injured at the end of the frst half.
The delay took the sting out of the game when it restarted, and although Carey went close with a shot across the face of goal, Padiham’s fate was summed up when a Martin Parkes header was deflected onto the bar, and from the rebound, Andy Haworth and then Blackley saw their shots blocked on the line.
Not a game to remember, but the Storks must improve if they are to take anything from Wednesday night’s home game with Ramsbottom United (kick-off 7-45 p.m.).
• Padiham Reserves went down 6-3 at home to Wigan Robin Park.
Trailing 3-0 at half-time after being totally outplayed, the Storks began the second half looking like a different side and pulled two goals back early on through Tim Rakshi and Shane Holding.
Defensively Padiham were not strong enough to keep a lively Wigan at bay, however, and they conceded three more goals before Curtis Gallagher scored a third.
Padiham’s young A team suffered their first defeat in the East Lancashire League, going down 4-0 to Calder Vale at Fennyfold, after trailing 1-0 at the interval.
Padiham’s youth team made progress in the Lancashire FA Under 18s Cup with a 2-0 first round win over Roach Dynamos at the Arbories on Sunday.
Joe Rodriguez and Zak Dale were on target.
• Following their promotion to the North West Regional Womens League - Padiham Ladies are looking for players in all positions including goalkeeper. In addition to these, anyone who may be interested in sponsorship for the forthcoming season is asked to contact the manager Gary Mills on 07753 762880.