Padiham are seven points clear of danger in the Evo-Stik First Division North after Saturday’s defeat at home to Cammell Laird.
The Storks’ record of having never beaten the Birkenhead side in a league game continued, but, with five games to play - one more than Wakefield, who occupy the last relegation slot - Steve Wilkes’ men are closing in on safety.
A goal against the run of play by Joe Evans on 17 minutes put the visitors ahead, when Storks keeper Sean Davis found himself in no man’s kand as Evans floated his shot into the top corner of the cricket field end goal.
Padiham went close in their next attack when leading scorer Keiron Pickup let loose a shot that keeper Mike Langley did well to tip over.
Pickup had another close shave moments later after a good move down the left ended with a pass into his path, and a shot that flew inches wide.
Padiham’s pressure paid dividends on 31 minutes when a break down the right worked a crossing position, and the centre was turned into his own net by Chay Dysart to level matters.
The Storks then had a big shout for a penalty turned down when Craig Carter’s attept to head in a low cross was foiled when a visiting defender caught the Padiham player in the head.
It would have been a free kick anywhere outside the box, but the referee wasn’t convinced.
The second half started quietly, but sprang into life on 55 minutes when Cammell Laird’s Joe Gibiluru firedin a shot from the edge of the box that gave Davis no chance.
The goal that sealed the game, however, arrived seven minutes later, and begged the question what is and isn’t a deliberate handball?
The linesman pointed for a corner, however, the referee pointed to the spot after some hesitation, and Evans scored his second of the game.
Padiham are back in action tonight when they travel to face Radcliffe Borough, kick-off 7-45 p.m.
Padiham Reserves went down 1-0 to AFC Darwen Reserves at the Anchor Ground in the NWC Reserve Division Trophy, losing to an 87th-minute strike from Aaron Brown.
Padiham Under 18s reached the final of the East Lancashire Alliance Under 18 Cup with a 4-0 win over Lammack on Sunday, and now play Fulledge Colts.
Ben Beardsell, Kieron Gamble, Jack Layfield and Corey Cook scored for Padiham.
Padiham Ladies drew 3-3 at home to Carlisle United in the North West Women’s Regional League on Sunday, with goals from Lisa Welsh, Becky Hayton and Justine Wallace.