PADIHAM were denied the victory needed to take them top of the NWC Premier Division as they drew 2-2 with Bacup Borough at the Arbories.
With Congleton Town and Stockport Sports involved in the FA Carlsberg Vase it was an ideal opportunity for the Storks in front of a bumper crowd of more than 200 on Non-League Day.
Steve Wilkes’s side took the lead after only two minutes when Joe Garvin’s flicked header beat two Bacup defenders and allowed Martin Parkes the time to bring the ball down before dispatching his shot past Ryan Jones to provide Padiham with the perfect start.
And it almost got even better in the 17th minute when a Garvin free-kick was met by Dave Sherlock but the Padiham striker’s header flew just over the bar.
Then visitors drew level against the run of play in the 22nd minute after a sloppy challenge from Elliot Dunn resulted in a penalty being awarded and Bacup’s Daniel Cocks converted the spot kick to make it 1-1.
Padiham went close to regaining the lead five minutes later when a Sam Morris right-sided cross found Ted Cockett who headed against the upright. But just after the half-hour mark Padiham grabbed a second when Garvin let fly from outside the area and a wicked deflection saw Jones rooted to the spot as the ball crashed in to the back of the net.
Just before the break Jones did well to keep hold of another Garvin effort as Padiham led 2-1 at the break.
After the interval the Storks dominated for the opening quarter-of-an-hour as Garvin struck the post while Neil Stansfield and David Shepherd forced Jones in to further saves.
However, Bacup were always dangerous on the break and from a set-piece Cocks gave the home side a scare when his effort flew just the wrong side of the Storks upright.
In the 65th minute a Sherlock header was tipped round the post by Jones and from the resultant corner the ball flashed across the face of goal with nobody able to apply the vital touch.
Sean Davis’s first real involvement arrived moments later when he forced away an effort from Joseph Edwards but he couldn’t deny David Limabrooke in the 77th minute when the Bacup substitute turned in a right wing cross to level matters.
Padiham had a big shout for a penalty turned down in the 82nd minute when Kenny Taylor looked to have been hit in the face and with two minutes of normal time remaining Garvin’s corner found Parkes unmarked but the Storks skipper was unable to steer his header on target.
The 2-2 draw moved the Storks up to fourth in the table and they’ll look to further improve on that standing when they entertain AFC Blackpool at the Arbories on Wednesday night, kick-off 7-45 p.m.
Elsewhere, Padiham Reserves suffered their first loss in the league this season as they lost 1-0 away to Irlam Reserves, conceding with just five minutes remaining.
There was better fortune for Padiham FC’s youth side who thrashed Mill Hill 8-1. Harry Price scored a hat-trick for the young Storks, Joel Melia and Henry Riley added a brace apiece while Connolly Steen rounded off the scoring. They now face a Lancashire FA under 18s Cup third round clash at the Arbories on Sunday, kick-off 11 a.m.
Finally, Padiham Ladies went down 4-2 to Atherton Ladies in the North West Womens League on Sunday. Charlotte Holden and Becky Hayton scored as the Storks went in level at the interval but the visitors scored twice in the final 20 minutes to steal the victory.