Padiham ended a barren run of six successive defeats in all competitions as a Kieran Pickup hat-trick inspired a 6-1 thumping over Bamber Bridge at the Arbories.
Having won just one league fixture since winning promotion to the Evo-Stik First Division North, the Storks were desperate for the victory that would lift them clear of the division’s bottom two.
Martin Parkes gave Padiham an early lead, heading in a fifth minute corner from Mark Sharples at the cricket field end of the ground. The same player went close to doubling the home side’s lead three minutes later but this time his shot was just off target and flashed over the bar.
The visitors were always in the game during the first half with Greg Johnstone and Matt Lawlor testing the home defence before Alistair Waddecar intercepted a poor back pass and put the away side on level terms with a shot past Storks stopper Marcus Burgess on the half hour mark.
Kieran Pickup tried his best to restore Padiham’s lead before the break but Bamber Bridge keeper Stuart Barton kept the lively striker out, saving two headers in the run up to half-time.
Storks boss Steve Wilkes’s team talk at the interval certainly impacted on his side as Padiham dominated the second half.
Striker Ben Allen threatened within the opening minute when his free-kick whistled just wide of the post before forcing Barton in to a smart save moments later.
Ashley Carter continued the onslaught with a penetrative run down the right which resulted in him cutting inside and firing over in the 49th minute and from a Mark Sharples corner Dominic Craig’s effort from the edge of the box needed Barton to once again be at his best to save.
Padiham’s pressure finally paid off in the 63rd minute when another Sharples corner caused problems among the visiting defence and when the ball eventually broke for Dean Overson, the Storks full back drilled a shot past Barton via a deflection to restore his side’s lead.
Three goals in the space of four minutes then secured maximum points for the hosts, starting with Pickup’s strike in the 68th minute which he curled out of reach of Barton from the edge of the box. Ashley Carter made it 4-1 when he charged down Barton’s attempted clearance before Pickup latched on to Craig’s threaded pass for number five.
Pickup then concluded the scoring and completed his hat-trick when Craig was upended in the box and Padiham’s leading scorer converted the resulting spot kick.
The Storks travel to Burscough tonight with kick-off at 7-45 p.m. before taking on Sheffield on Saturday in the FA Trophy at the Arbories, kick-off 3 p.m.
Elsewhere, Padiham Reserves fell to a 3-2 defeat at Cheadle Town in the North West Counties Reserve Division with all five goals arriving after the break. Owen Deakin Pickard and Sam Menelaou scored for the Storks.
Padiham FC under 18s won 5-0 away to Springfields in the Lancashire FA County Under 18s Cup competition courtesy of a brace apiece for Kieran Gamble and Liam Cole while Ben Beardsell also etched his name on the scoresheet.
Meanwhile, Padiham Ladies lost 4-0 at home to Stockport County in the North West Womens Regional League while the club’s under 14s side lost 5-0 against Mill Hill in the East Lancashire Alliance Youth League.