Padiham joy as Langford and Sharples seal win

Padiham ended a run of 14 successive defeats on Saturday as they won their first Evo-Stik First Division North home fixture of the New Year at the Arbories Memorial Sports Grounds YESSS Electrical Arena.

The game only went ahead after the club’s ground staff put hours of work into getting the pitch fit following heavy overnight rain.

Bobby Langford dives in to head Padiham into an early lead.

Bobby Langford dives in to head Padiham into an early lead.

The Storks got off to a great start, taking the lead after two minutes when Bobby Langford beat keeper Chris Cheetham with a diving header from a low, hard cross from Curtis Haley.

Langford could and should have doubled the lead five minutes later when he found himself one on one with the Radcliffe keeper, but instead of getting off a shot, tried to round Cheetham, only to run the ball out of play.

The pacey Padiham forward caused even more problems for the visitors on 13 minutes following a break down the left, but his cross was just too hard for his strike partner Brett Ormerod to get a head to it, as it flashed across the face of goal.

Radcliffe had to wait until the 35th minute to register their first attempt on goal when Daniel Lambert dragged his shot wide, and then in their next attack, Sam Cook did likewise.

Padiham ended the half with a Martin Parkes effort that flew over the bar, but more importantly still with their 1-0 lead intact.

Radcliffe started the second half intent to have a real go at the Padiham defence, and went close when Ash Blake saw his shot turned onto the post by on loan Preston North End keeper Ross Dalton.

However it was Padiham who scored next following a run down the left by Langford and pull back which saw midfield player Mark Sharples slam his effort into the net on 57 minutes.

The Storks went close again on 72 minutes after Ormerod was played in down the right, and his cross was fired wide by Langford.

Then Radcliffe found a way back into the game when Sam Cook was allowed to turn inside the area and get off a shot that beat Dalton with 15 minutes still to play.

During that time span, Padiham needed some good fortune and excellent defending to survive as first Chris Mason hit the bar with a shot, and in another attack Elliott Rokka headed over from close range.

At the final whistle, however Padiham had the points and the platform they needed to go into Saturday’s fixture away to Bamber Bridge with some encouragement, finally breaking out of a run of defeats.

The Storks’ third win of the season leaves them 10 points adrift of Radcliffe and safety, with fellow strugglers New Mills and Prescot Cables both beaten on Saturday by Spennymoor Town and Northwich Victoria respectively.