Storks showing their true colours – Wilkes

Action from the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy semi-final between Lancaster City (blue and white) v Padiham, at the County Ground in Leyland.
Padiham's Sean Cookson finds himself surrounded.  PIC BY ROB LOCK
23-2-2016

Action from the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy semi-final between Lancaster City (blue and white) v Padiham, at the County Ground in Leyland. Padiham's Sean Cookson finds himself surrounded. PIC BY ROB LOCK 23-2-2016

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Steve Wilkes feels Padiham are beginning to show a truer reflection of themselves following a 4-3 win over Congleton Town at the Arbories.

The Storks have now lost just once in 11 outings in the North West Counties Premier Division, and that sequence has put them right in the mix for a top 10 finish.

The hosts, who welcomed winger Jake Townsend and striker Reece Pearce back in to the XI, started well and opened the scoring in the ninth minute.

Andy Fitzgerald and Townsend shared a short corner and it was the latter who delivered the ball into the box, where skipper Martin Parkes got across his marker to head home at the near post.

Pearce clipped the outside of the post when one-on-one with Michael Dixon moments later as the home side looked to stretch their advantage.

However, Padiham’s lead was gone in 60 seconds of the second half when Norman Willis beat Sean Cookson to a cross and powered a header past Michael Donlon.

The Storks responded well and netted three times in a 15-minute spell to race in to the lead.

Cookson scored a quickfire brace when fizzing a shot in to the corner from 20 yards out before tapping home from close range once Dixon had denied Pearce.

Samuel Marshall brought the visitors back in to it when capitalising on confusion between Seydou Bamba and Donlon to make it 3-2 but within minutes the two-goal cushion was restored.

Garry Hunter and Aaron Taylor combined in the build up before Morecambe youngster Townsend picked out the corner with a stunning, curling effort from 25 yards out.

That should’ve been done and dusted but the away side found another route back in to the game.

Willis, again, stole a yard from his marker from another set-piece and side-footed the ball in to the aperture between Donlon and the post from six yards out to make it 4-3.

Willis was then denied his hat-trick, and an equaliser, late on when Michael West cleared his attempt off the line.

“We’ve lost just once in 11 games now,” said Wilkes. “I think we’re starting to show what we’re really capable of.

“The confidence within the squad is very good at the minute and you can see that in our performances. It was an interesting game but there was a 15-minute spell where I though we played our best football in a long time.

“We go to Alsager now looking to close the gap on the teams in the top 10 again.”