TEN man Padiham’s progression in the FA Cup was rewarded with a £1,000 windfall and another home tie in the next round.
After beating Wigan Robin Park 1-0 at the Arbories on Saturday in the extra preliminary round, picking up the much-needed prize money in the process, the Storks were drawn to play Evo-Stik First Division North side Burscough FC on August 25th.
Bright sunshine and a superb playing surface greeted both teams at the weekend, and they entertained the crowd with end-to-end football in the opening quarter-of-an-hour before the Storks got on top.
Joe Garvin went close in the 18th minute with a fierce drive that visiting keeper Jason Foulds did well to keep out.
Then a move involving Neil Stansfield and Andrew Tinker ended with the latter curling a shot just inches wide.
Ben Allen looked to have given the Storks the lead on the half-hour but his header from Garvin’s set-piece was ruled out for offside.
Another Garvin free-kick rattled the upright in the run up to half-time, and from the rebound Martin Parkes fired over from close range as the hosts pressed for the opener.
Elliot Dunn went close again for Padiham moments before the interval when his header was acrobatically tipped over the crossbar by Foulds.
And in the final action of the half a Garvin corner was hooked goalwards at the back post by Sam Morris only for his effort to be blocked on the line before the ball was scrambled to safety.
Steve Wilkes’s side maintained their momentum and dominance once the second half got underway and went close to breaking the deadlock again when a long throw in by Owen Deakin-Pickard was only half cleared leaving Tinker with a free header on goal that went over the bar.
But on the hour mark Padiham were reduced to 10 men when Parkes fouled Wigan’s Philip Howard on the edge of the Storks penalty box, leaving referee Michael Banage with no option but to dismiss the Storks skipper having been deemed to have prevented a goal-scoring opportunity.
Padiham survived the resulting free-kick and the period of intense pressure that followed as the visitors looked to make advantage of their extra man.
Ryan Small flashed an effort across the face of Padiham’s goal and only a superb save by Padiham keeper Marc Crossley from an Andrew Neafey shot down at the foot of the post kept Wigan out.
Neafey had another chance to open the scoring in the 75th minute but he headed over a cross from the left which he should have done better with.
That missed chance would then be punished three minutes later as Padiham took the lead when Garvin’s set-piece was met by the head of Ben Allen with just enough contact to squeeze the ball past Foulds to make it 1-0.
Garvin tested Foulds with another free-kick as the hosts looked to put the game to bed while at the other end Crossley prevented a replay, saving at the feet of Howard.
In the 88th minute an industrious Garvin performance was almost iced with a delightful 60-yard effort that floated over a stranded Foulds only to dip beyond the wrong side of the post.
The Storks are in action again tomorrow when they take on Squires Gate in a league fixture at the Arbories, with kick-off at 7-45 p.m.
Elsewhere, Padiham Reserves conceded two late goals which denied them maximum points away at New Mills.
Early pressure from the home side put Padiham on the back foot for the opening 20 minutes but they eventually showed their dominance and took the lead in the 35th minute when Paul Walker finished off a good move, beating Craig Alford from the edge of the box.
Steve Cassidy nearly added a second for the Storks just before half-time but his shot was blocked and cleared.
But five minutes in to the second half Padiham did double their advantage when Andy Hill’s centre was converted at the second attempt by Zack Wilkes.
However, Padiham suffered late heartache when Sam Bancroft halved the deficit in the 80th minute before Daniel Johnson wiped out Padiham’s lead with just two minutes of normal time remaining.