Storks come from behind to continue charge up table

Garry Hunter, pictured in action for Lancaster City, netted Padihams equalising goal
Garry Hunter, pictured in action for Lancaster City, netted Padihams equalising goal

For those that didn't fancy the stress of some last minute Christmas shopping on Saturday, the Arbories Memorial Sports Ground provided the perfect alternative.

And the game between Padiham and Congleton Town didn’t disappoint, with the Storks coming back from being a goal down at half-time to win 2-1 with a superb second half fightback.

The win sees them keep in contact with the leading clubs in the Hallmark Security North West Counties Football League Premier Division table in the run up to the Festive period.

However, for much of the first half it looked like being one of those days, with efforts from Alex Murphy, Chris Turner and James Dean all going close in the opening 20 minutes, before the visitors went ahead when Jordan Cobley got the last touch to a ball that barely found its way over the line via the post.

Padiham striker Aaron Taylor had his 25th-minute shot deflected over the bar in the Storks’ next attack while at the other end, a break down the left and cross by Lee Jackson on 34 minutes resulted in a Paul Bathgate shot being tipped over the bar by Storks keeper Max Povey.

The last action in the first half belonged to Padiham when Brandon Barski headed a Chris Turner free kick back across the face of the goal to leave the visitors’ single goal advantage still intact at the break.

Padiham emerged for the second half full of energy and had the visiting defenders on the back foot right from the restart, with full back Ashley Brierley testing Congleton keeper Ross Heywood with a long range effort that Heywood did well to turn away for a corner, and Murphy forcing Heywood to make another save, this time from a close range blockbuster just minutes later.

Then on 54 minutes, the home side’s pressure paid off after a Dean run ended with him being crowded out in the box, and the loose ball finding its way to Garry Hunter, whose measured shot found its way into the corner of the net to make it 1-1.

A minute later Padiham were denied a second goal when a Kieron Pickup shot hit the post, and as the Storks continued to press, Murphy and Turner both had shots go just over the bar, Dean had a shot saved, Hunter and Turner had efforts deflected for corners, and Pickup had a shot blocked on the line.

Padiham’s hold on the game had to pay off, and on 68 minutes Marc Young headed in a Turner corner to eventually break the deadlock.

Dominic Craig looked to have made the game safe with a third goal, but had his effort wrongly ruled out for off-side, and in the run up to full time Taylor blazed a great chance over the bar, leaving the Storks to take the points, but with a winning margin much less than their overall performance deserved.

Padiham travel to AFC Darwen on Boxing Day and host Friday night football at the Arbories for the first time on December 30th against fellow high-fliers Atherton Collieries, kick-off 7-45 p.m.