Storks stage late fightback at Congleton

James Dean got the Storks back in the game when a Congleton clearance rebounded off him into the net
James Dean got the Storks back in the game when a Congleton clearance rebounded off him into the net

On a day when Padiham were not at their best, two late goals saw them fight back from two goals down to earn a point at Congleton Town on Saturday.

Both sides created half chances in the early stages of the game, with Congleton’s Scott McGowan going closest with a free kick from the edge of the box that just went over the bar on 23 minutes, before breaking the deadlock on 29 minutes when he ran onto a through ball and shot over the head of Storks keeper Michael Donlon to put his side one up.

Congleton’s pleasure at taking the lead suffered a setback a minute after the restart when Brian Matthews was sent off for kicking out at Padiham defender James Walker, reducing the home side to 10 men with an hour still left to play.

Advantage to Padiham you would think – not so, as the home side not only made it to half-time without looking in any trouble, but actually doubled their lead 15 minutes into the second half when Paul Bathgate took advantage of a poor headed clearance.

Declan Fletcher tested Padiham keeper Donlon with a long range shot on 64 minutes that needed saving, and then troubled the Storks defence again on71 minutes with a break down the right and cross that both McGowan and Bathgate failed to connect with.

At the other end, Padihams continued stance of playing a long high ball down the middle was frustratingly being dealt with by the home defence, until nine minutes from time when pressure from James Dean and Mark Coyne saw an attempted clearance hit Dean, and the ball rebounded past home keeper Ross Heywood to give the Storks a foothold back in the game.

Dean then curled a shot against the bar in the Storks’ next attack, before Padiham themselves were reduced to 10 men after Walker received a second yellow card and was dismissed.

On 89 minutes, however, Padiham’s pressure paid off when Coyne let go a shot from the edge of the box that rocketed into the back of the home side’s net to make it 2-2.

The Storks had to survive an injury time scare as Congleton substitute Richard Bailey broke free, only to see his first shot saved by Donlon and his follow up shot go wide.

Padiham have no midweek game but are at home to AFC Liverpool this Saturday, kick-off 3 p.m. at the Arbories Memorial Sports Ground.