Storks boss Steve Wilkes has slammed his side’s lacklustre performance in defeat to West Didsbury and Chorlton at the weekend.
Padiham, who missed out on a place in the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy final at the Macron Stadium in heartbreaking circumstances last week, were beaten 3-1 at the Arbories despite leading early in the second half.
Striker Kieron Pickup gave the hosts the lead in the 47th minute but for the sixth time in just three outings Padiham surrendered their advantage.
Within four minutes Matthew Kay and Gary Lilley had turned the fixture on its head before Matthew Eckersley secured the points for the visitors.
“It was the worst it’s been all season,” exclaimed Wilkes. “It was awful. How do you go from Tuesday night’s performance levels to that? It was bad, really bad. I was lost for words with 10 minutes to go in the game.
“If your players give you 100% then there’s nothing you can complain about, you’ve obviously been beaten by the better team, but we didn’t give anything near.
“Some of the players were effectively stealing money from the club with their performances on Saturday.”
Wilkes, who made two changes for the North West Counties Premier Division fixture with Lee Botham and Darren Green replacing Martin Parkes and Josh Emmott respectively, believes his players may have been suffering a hangover from their cup exit.
“We’ve obviously worked very hard on Tuesday without getting our just rewards,” said Wilkes. “We should’ve won and we were very unfortunate.
“I think that disappointment of conceding in the last minute in the manner that we did has clearly had an affect. We’ve got to move on though. We can’t make excuses for that at the weekend because it wasn’t acceptable.”
Ahead of tomorrow evening’s derby against AFC Darwen on home soil (kick off 7-45 p.m.), Wilkes added: “I had seven great years at Darwen and I’ll always be grateful to them.
“They gave me the opportunity to cut my teeth in management. But this is a ‘must win’ game for us. We’re only five points above the relegation zone now and we need to change that.”
New signing Aaron Taylor, signed from Lancaster City, will be in contention to make the matchday squad.
“We need a vast improvement in our performance. Darwen can go above us if they beat us.
“We’re looking over our shoulder at the relegation zone again. After the display against West Didsbury I’ll be moving one or two players on. That’s how bad it was.”