Padiham had a solid defensive display to thank for a brilliant draw against Evo-Stik opposition Burscough in the FA Cup preliminary round on Monday.
The hastily re-arranged fixture - after Saturday’s match was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch - saw the teams play out an entertaining end-to-end game.
The Storks raced out of the blocks, with Sam Morris and Andrew Tinker linking up well, before unleashing a shot that visiting goalkeeper Tim Horn turned around his post.
Burscough went straight on the attack, and front man Niall Cummins headed over the crossbar on 15 minutes after meeting a left-sided cross, whilst at the other end Joe Garvin saw his free kick beat the wall but lack the pace to really trouble Horn.
The game continued to hang in the balance when Elliot Dunn almost connected with a Ted Cockett free kick on 20 minutes, before Cummins, who was proving to be a growing threat, was unlucky to see a shot on the turn fail to trouble Storks keeper Sean Davis, as it went harmlessly over the crossbar.
Garvin troubled the Burscough defence again on 35 minutes, with a cross to the back post that the visiting defenders struggled to scramble away for a corner.
Next to go close was Ben Allen, as he headed a punted free kick just over the target in the run up to half-time.
Burscough’s John Kennedy had an opportunity to put his side in front but saw his shot deflected wide for a corner and Lee Baker couldn’t keep his header on target from the resulting dead-ball to draw the half to a close.
Arguably Padiham’s best chance of the game arrived minutes into the second half after a surging run down the left by Morris, his superb cross was met with a thumping header from Allen that flew straight into the arms of goalkeeper Horn.
Burscough’s David Lynch was wasteful and had a number of long-range efforts off target before forcing Davis into a save with a well-placed header from a corner,
Good battling in midfield from Dunn saw him fashion a chance by releasing Allen, and his through ball for Tinker looked set to give the Storks the lead, only for some brilliant last-ditch defending to deflect the shot wide.
With the game wearing on, both managers tried to force a goal with substitutions in an effort to win the tie at the first attempt, and Garvin nearly snatched victory in injury time but for a top drawer save from goalkeeper Horn to take the game to a replay.
The replay will be played at Burscough’s Victoria Park on Wednesday, kick-off 7-30 p.m.
Saturday sees the Stork’s travel to Formby in the FA Vase, and the reserves face West Didsbury and Chorlton Reserves in a NWCFL Reserve Division fixture at the Arbories, kick-off 3 p.m.
Padiham Reserves away fixture against Ashton Town Reserves on Saturday went ahead as scheduled at Edge Green Street.
The Storks had the better of the first half and looked in controle, but their failure to turn possession into goals cost them.
With the scores still level at half-time it took something special to break the deadlock and when Town striker Sam Wilkie picked up the ball, he hammered a piledriver into the back of the net to give the home side the lead.
Both sides continued to match each other and with the clock running down it looked like Wilkie’s goal would see the hosts take all three points, but deep into injury time Padiham won a corner, and Ben Sutcliffe’s precision delivery was met with a towering header from defender Jack Houlker to level things up and give the Storks a deserved point.
A late goal saw Padiham Ladies suffer a defeat at the hands of Blackburn Rovers Ladies Reserves on Sunday in a pre-season friendly.