Padiham hold the league leaders

editorial image

PADIHAM extended their unbeaten start to the league season as they held leaders Bootle at the Arbories on Saturday in the North West Counties League Premier Division’s match of the day.

An even opening 10 minutes to the game was followed by a period of Padiham pressure which saw Ben Allen, Martin Parkes and Dave Sherlock all go close with efforts just wide of the target.

Bootle then responded with a goal bound header from Daniel O’Connor which Storks keeper Sean Davis acrobatically tipped over the bar. From the resulting corner Neil Prince headed over after being left unmarked.

Davis had to be alert again on the half-hour mark to save a fierce long range drive by Kevin Black and minutes later Davis was in action once more to push a header from Black round the post.

Bootle’s Sean Coulton found space once again in the heart of the Padiham defence but his header from a right wing cross following a short corner failed to hit the target.

Padiham finished the half the stronger of the two sides and nearly took an interval lead when Dave Sherlock cut in from the right to get off a shot that Bootle keeper Dean Porter did well to keep out.

If the first half had been lively the second half went up several more gears with Bootle’s Michael Young opening the proceedings with an early snap shot that Davis held onto.

Dave Sherlock just missed connectivity with a Tom Bradley in-swinging corner on 51 minutes and at the other end four minutes later, Bootle substitute Lee Thompson smacked a close range shot against the bar.

Inadvertently this set up Padiham’s best two chances of the game as the clearance from Padiham’s defence found Martin Broderick who raced away to find himself one-on-one with Bootle keeper Porter. Padiham’s midfielder shot straight at Porter and from the rebound Tom Bradley followed up only to see Porter once again stand his ground and win out in a second one-on-one situation.

By now Padiham had asserted themselves on the game and went close again when a Broderick free-kick found Neil Stansfield who set up Kieran Fletcher to fire over the bar. In between this attack and Porter saving another effort on goal by Bradley and a header going wide from Parkes, it needed an overhead hooked clearance by Storks defender Liam Foster to stop Bootle scoring at the other end.

On 67 minutes Davis kept out a back post header by Bootle and just a minute later Padiham had the luck with them again when Coultan’s shot hit their bar.

The breakthrough came on 71 minutes when a break down the right by Sherlock resulted in his cross-cum-shot across he face of goal being turned in by Allen to put the Storks 1-0 up.

Sherlock nearly doubled Padiham’s lead on 75 minutes but his acute angled shot went just wide.

Bootle responded with a shot from O’Connor that was deflected wide and a Neil McQueen long range shot that Davis saved.

However a rash challenge by Sam Morris 10 minutes from time resulted in a free-kick right on the right hand side touchline.

The ball flew into the home defence’s 18-yard box and as it somehow found its way back across to the right hand side, Bootle substitute Jak Gray smashed the ball back into the Padiham net to level the scores at 1-1.

Within a minute Padiham looked to have scored the winner when Bradley played in Sherlock and his shot beat the advancing keeper only to be cleared off the line.

On 85 minutes a shot on goal by Allen was well saved by Porter but when the ball came back into play Bradley was brought down by Coulton for a penalty. The opportunity for the Storks to take all three points fell on the shoulders of Padiham midfielder Broderick and after a long delay for treatment to both Bradley and Coulton, the Storks midfielder ran up only to blast the spot-kick straight at Porter resulting in the loose ball eventually being put into the net by Allen.

The Padiham players thought they had got out of jail but not so as the assistant referee flagged to say Allen had been offside and the goal was disallowed.

One more chance fell Bootle’s way before the final whistle but Davis saved Thompson’s shot leaving the game level at 1-1 when the final whistle sounded and both sides still unbeaten in the league.

Padiham have no midweek fixture but are at home again this Saturday when Winsford United visit the Arbories, kick-off at 3pm.

Padiham Reserves had no fixture on Saturday, however tomorrow night the Storks second string are at home to Barnoldswick Town Reserves, kick -off 7-45pm at the Arbories.

Padiham Under 18s had no fixture because of their FA Youth Cup tie at AFC Fylde last night but the Stork Under 13s continued their good start to the season with a 2-0 win over Crown Paints at Fennyfold in the East Lancashire Alliance Youth League. Padiham’s goals came from Hughes and O’Reilly.

Padiham FC Ladies left it late to progress in the season Lancashire FA Women’s County Cup competition beating Preston North End Ladies 1-0 with a last minute goal by Justine Wallace.