Padiham remain on course

DOUBLE: Ben Allen
DOUBLE: Ben Allen

PADIHAM’S Ben Allen struck twice in the second half against Wigan Robin Park as the Storks maintained their NWC Premier Division promotion challenge.

On a difficult playing surface, both sides played out a stalemate in the opening 45 minutes where chances proved few and far between.

Andrew Tinker shields the ball.

Andrew Tinker shields the ball.

Joe Garvin was the first to produce a notable attempt in the fixture, lashing an effort across the face of goal.

Andrew Tinker flashed a header past the post as Padiham searched for a breakthrough, while a mix-up in the Wigan defence almost proved detrimental for the home side.

The Robins’ only real chance of the first half came when Paul Cliff attempted a speculative effort from distance that flew over the crossbar after Storks keeper Sean Davis had strayed off his line.

Thankfully Steve Wilkes’s men adapted to the conditions in the second half and stepped into their normal pattern of play.

After an early scare which saw Stephen Kay break from midfield and fire a shot from the edge of the box just wide of the post, the away side began to get on top.

The deadlock was broken in the 57th minute when Garvin’s centre was helped on by Tinker, and, after a deflection from a home defender, Allen was on hand to slam the ball home to make it 1-0.

Padiham added a second three minutes later when Liam Foster’s piercing pass released Allen, who nonchalantly rounded keeper Jason Foulds before planting the ball in to an empty net.

Garvin had a great opportunity to extend that cushion with 20 minutes remaining but a smart double save from Foulds kept him at bay.

In the 75th minute new signing Mark Sharples, who joined from Ramsbottom United, engineered some space but chipped his shot wide and moments later David Sherlock found himself in a similar position before drilling his shot in to the side-netting.

Wigan applied the pressure in the run up to the final whistle as a fine save from Davis prevented Joseph Hull from reducing the deficit from close range.

Padiham take on Evo-Stik First Division North side Bamber Bridge tomorrow night in the quarter-final of the Lancashire FA Co-Operative Challenge Cup at the Arbories, kick-off at 7-45 p.m. weather permitting.

Meanwhile, the Storks are at home again on Saturday as they take on Stone Dominoes.