A last minute strike from Accrington Stanley loanee Luke Greaves secured a 3-2 victory for Padiham over New Mills to ease the club’s relegation fears as they moved seven points clear of the Evo-Stik First Division North trap door with six games remaining.
Playing with a wind advantage in the first half, the Storks went ahead in the 24th minute when the home side’s keeper Peter Collinge palmed Dominic Craig’s shot in to the path of Kieron Pickup and the striker slammed the ball in to an empty net.
Padiham almost doubled their advantage five minutes later but this time Pickup’s shot was turned around the upright for a corner by Collinge.
In the run up to half-time New Mills captain Daniel Grimshaw nearly made Padiham pay for not making more of their first half possession when his fierce free kick tested Storks keeper Sean Davis to the full as he tipped the effort around the post at full stretch.
However, Padiham’s lead was extinguished just four minutes in to the second half when a ball in from the left eluded everyone except Michael Fish who finished from close range to make it 1-1.
Almost immediately Padiham threatened to go ahead for a second time and only a last ditch save from Collinge prevented Pickup from scoring his second of the fixture.
Martin Parkes then went close after being picked out perfectly by Pickup’s corner but the Storks skipper steered his effort on to the crossbar.
The game swung from end to end with New Mills substitute Wes Bancroft firing just over in the 56th minute while Danny Boyle did the same for the visitors just after the hour.
In the 65th minute, however, the hosts took the lead when Padiham failed to clear their lines from a cross in from the right and substitute Daniel Hewitt added the finishing touch to make it 2-1.
New Mills wasted a good chance to extend their cushion when Fish thumped a close range free kick straight at Davis, and at that point Storks boss Steve Wilkes responded by making a double change with 20 minutes remaining.
Padiham’s tempo immediately increased and they set out for the equaliser as Collinge kept out Craig’s shot with his feet with quarter-of-an-hour remaining.
But Collinge had no chance with the Storks’ leveller in the 78th minute as Boyle danced round the New Mills keeper before making it 2-2 with an angled shot.
Pickup then saw an attempt headed off the line while Craig’s drive moments later flashed across the face of goal. New Mills also had chances to restore their advantage in a hectic finish to the fixture that saw Davis comfortably collect Michael Smith’s timid effort before plunging to the foot of his upright to thwart Rhys Nevins from close range.
And those heroics from Davis provided the platform for Padiham to go on and claim a vital three points when in the final minute of the game Greaves sparked delirium when his far post header from Pickup’s corner glided beyond Collinge to make it 3-2.
Incredibly, Padiham nearly added a fourth deep in to time added on but Collinge produced a superb fingertip save to turn Craig’s effort over the top.
Padiham are next in action on Saturday when they entertain Cammell Laird at the Arbories with kick-off at 3 p.m.
Elsewhere, Padiham Reserves secured their second win in four days with a 3-1 win over Barnoldswick Town at the Arbories in the North West Counties Reserve Division.
After beating Silsden 2-1 in the divisional trophy midweek, Gareth Hill gave the Storks the lead against their local rivals with a stooping header from Ben Brigson’s centre. Martin Trickett doubled the lead after the break only for Jack Fairburn to reduce the arrears soon after. However, Liam Cole’s fantastic long range effort ensured the Storks took maximum points.