Padiham ended Runcorn Linnets’ 12-match unbeaten league run in front of the Storks’ biggest crowd of the season at the Arbories Memorial Sports Ground on Saturday, conjuring up a hard fought 1-0 victory.
Runcorn looked lively early on in the game, but it was Padiham who came closest to opening the scoring on 15 minutes when Brandon Barski headed a back post opportunity just wide following an Alex Murphy corner.
Within a minute, Runcorn had an even better chance to score when a ball across the face of goals was headed back by Paul Shanley towards Kyle Hamid, whose shot looked to be going in, but flashed the wrong side of the upright.
Hamid went close again on 35 minutes from a dipping free kick that Padiham keeper Michael Donlon did well to tip over his own crossbar.
However with four minutes remaining of the first half, the deadlock was eventually broken when James Dean ran onto a ball over the top from Joseph Whittington, and beat keeper Tom Hunt from the edge of the box.
Early second half pressure from Runcorn saw Hamid land an inswinging corner onto the top of the bar, while at the other end, Padiham hit the woodwork themselves when Marc Young headed a Garry Hunter corner against the bar.
Donlon was in action to keep out a close range effort with a save down at the foot of his post on 69 minutes, but had luck on his side late in the game when an header from Runcorn full back Chris Lawson hit both posts before being scrambled away to safety.
That left Padiham’s lead still intact at the final whistle, thanks to some excellent defending that kept the visiting forwards frustrated at their inability to score.
Padiham are at home again tomorrow night when Fylde coast side Squires Gate are the visitors to the Arbories for a 7-45 p.m. kick-off.