Photos: Padiham lose at Arbories in their opening league fixture of 2014

The New Year brought defeat for Padiham as Salford City stole maximum points from the Evo-Stik First Division North fixture at the Arbories.

A lively start to the clash produced an end-to-end encounter that saw Padiham’s leading scorer Kieron Pickup have a sixth minute shot turned away for a corner by Daniel Fradd before the striker blazed over the bar from the resulting set-piece.

PADIHAM V SALFORD CITY: Dominic Craig is denied by Salford keeper Daniel Fradd.'Photo Ben Parsons

PADIHAM V SALFORD CITY: Dominic Craig is denied by Salford keeper Daniel Fradd.'Photo Ben Parsons

Mark Battersby crafted the away side’s first opening after 10 minutes had elapsed but his effort was deflected for a corner to stave off the danger.

However, after a quarter-of-an-hour a mistake from Chris Turner gifted possession to the visitors on the edge of the Storks’ penalty area and Stuart Cook accepted the invitation to smash his shot past Sean Davis to make it 1-0.

Pickup tried to force the equaliser with a couple of half chances while at the other end Salford’s Porya Ahmadi headed a Battersby centre inches wide of the far post just before the interval.

The away side went close again just five minutes after the restart but Davis produced a spectacular save to keep out a powerful header from a corner.

Dominic Craig then produced one of a series of left wing breaks that had the visitors on the back foot for the majority of the time remaining, creating a number of opportunities including Spencer Jordan’s effort that was deflected for a corner while another saw his own cross flash past the far post with Fradd troubled.

As the pressure mounted, Martin Parkes headed Turner’s floated free-kick over the crossbar in the 68th minute and two minutes later Rob Whyte’s volley from Jordan’s flick on forced Fradd in to a fantastic save to preserve City’s lead.

The home side had penalty appeals ignored by referee David Storrie in the 76th minute after the ball was handled, then Pickup drilled wide from another chance moments later.

The home side were determined to salvage a point at least, and they were cruelly denied a leveller when Craig’s measured cross fell perfectly in to the path of Ash Carter and his effort looked destined for the back of the net until a deflection steered the effort around the upright for a corner.

With the Storks committing men forward and pressing high up the pitch they were susceptible to being caught on the break, and City almost doubled their advantage when substitute Nathan McDonald broke free only to shoot over with the target at his mercy.

Steve Wilkes’s side have no midweek fixture but travel to Ossett Town on Saturday with kick-off at 3 p.m.

Padiham Reserves had their fixture at AFC Darwen postponed while Padiham FC Ladies’s North West Counties Women’s Regional League game with Penrith Ladies fell victim to a water-logged pitch.

But the club’s under 18s survived the deluge to beat Belvedere 3-1 in the East Lancashire Alliance Youth League.