PADIHAM climbed to fifth in the North West Counties Premier Division after scoring three in the opening 11 minutes to see off Stockport Sports at the Arbories.
Relentless rainfall in the week leading up to the game meant the pitch had been heavily sanded to ensure that the fixture was given the green light. But, despite the difficult playing surface, the Storks turned in a superb opening 45 minute performance that made certain the points on offer were always going Padiham’s way.
However, it needed a top class save from Padiham keeper Sean Davis after only a minute of play to stop John Marsden’s fiercely struck free-kick from giving the visitors an early lead. That stop resulted in Padiham breaking quickly and at the other end Joe Garvin smashed a shot against the crossbar.
Sam Morris forced Stockport keeper Mark Pullman in to a save in the sixth minute with a left-footed drive but moments later Garvin’s rocket from the edge of the box nestled in the back of the net before Pullman had chance to move to give the Storks a 1-0 lead.
Padiham doubled their lead just two minutes later when Martin Parkes’s header fell to Ben Allen who angled his shot past Pullman. Things got even better for Steve Wilkes’s side in the 11th minute when Sam Morris fired home from close range to make it 3-0 after Pullman had saved Kieran Fletcher’s header.
Pullman continued to be at the centre of play, saving a David Sherlock shot after quarter-of-an-hour before denying Allen’s header in the 23rd minute. The game was delayed for some time when a bad injury to Storks captain Parkes saw him stretchered off and taken to hospital in an ambulance.
As the game restarted Padiham continued to put the away side under sustained pressure with both Martin Broderick and Sherlock having efforts cleared off the line and a Garvin effort turned wide by Pullman. Andrew Tinker went close with an attempt that flashed across the face of goal and five minutes from the break the hosts added a fourth.
A Sam Morris diagonal pass found Allen who drove forward, putting the visiting defence on the back foot, before rounding the keeper and pulling the ball back in to the path of Sherlock who rounded off the scoring.
The second half saw Stockport have more of the possession but applied very little penetration against a well-organised Storks outfit who were sharp in the tackle when necessary.
The victory means the Storks will go in to tomorrow evening’s local derby with Colne at the Arbories full of confidence. Kick-off is scheduled for 7-45 p.m., weather and pitch conditions permitting.
Meanwhile, supporters still wanting a ticket for Padiham FC’s sportsman’s dinner, which takes place at Turf Moor on Thursday night, are asked to contact club secretary Alan Smith on 07775 717698.
Former Arsenal and England footballer Paul Merson is the guest speaker for the event.