PADIHAM were condemned to their fourth NWC Premier Division defeat of the season losing 2-1 to local rivals Ramsbottom United at the Arbories on Wednesday night in a pulsating game played in monsoon weather conditions.
The Storks led 1-0 at half-time thanks to a 10th minute header from Chris Ridehalgh that deflected in off a visiting defender following a Barry Shuttleworth free-kick. Ridehalgh was in the thick of the action again five minutes before the interval but he could only blaze his shot over the bar.
After the break Padiham not only had to contend playing against the wind and rain but also a revitalised Ramsbottom side that pinned the Storks in their own half. The away side had a big shout for a penalty turned down in the 52nd minute when a shot seemingly deflected for a corner off the hand of a Padiham defender.
But an astute double substitution made by Ramsbottom’s managerial pairing of Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley brought instant reward as Keiran Pickup equalised with his first touch of the game after being on the pitch for less than a minute.
Padiham responded with a right-footed effort from Ed O’Neill that was turned away by Grant Shenton and from the resulting corner John Blackley found space but headed wide.
But straight from the goal kick the visitors surged down the pitch and made it 2-1 in the 71st minute through Phil Dean who beat Storks keeper Sean Davis with an angled shot.
Shenton made two exceptional saves in the closing stages from Michael Morrison and O’Neill to deny Craig Chadwick’s side a share of the points.
The Storks are away at St Helens Town tomorrow while Padiham Reserves entertain Silsden Reserves at the Arbories with kick-off at 3 p.m.
Elsewhere, Padiham Ladies made the perfect start to life in the North West Women’s Regional Football League as they thrashed Springfield Ladies 4-0.
The game was goal-less at half time but a brace apiece from Elise Haworth and Charlotte Holden gave Padiham Ladies a winning start to the new campaign.
The Storks had earlier rounded off their pre-season preparations in fine fashion with an 11-2 thumping of Lancaster City Ladies at the Giant Axe Stadium.
They travel to face Penrith Ladies on Sunday in their next encounter.