Tough test for Padiham

Paul Fildes scored for the reserves on Tuesday night
Paul Fildes scored for the reserves on Tuesday night

PADIHAM face a tough test on Saturday when they take on Congleton Town at the Arbories (kick-off 3 p.m.) in the Vodkat League Premier Division.

The two sides drew 1-1 at Congleton back in mid-January, with the Storks needing a late Paul Fildes penalty to share the points.

Padiham welcome back defender Kieran Fletcher after a four-match suspension, but they will be without full back Tom Bradley, who starts a two-game ban.

Manager Craig Chadwick is also waiting to see whether John Blackley is back to fitness after missing Saturday’s win at home to Barnoldswick throuhg an injury picked up at Maine Road.

The Storks face a hectic end of the season, with eight league games scheduled for April, although five are at the Arbories.

First up is Congleton, followed by a home clash with Bootle on Saturday, April 9th, and a trip to St Helens on Tuesday the 12th.

Padiham are at New Mills on Saturday the 16th, and host Formby on Wednesday the 20th.

Silsden come to the Arbories on Saturday the 23rd, before travelling to Ashton Athletic on Monday the 25th, and a home clash with Runcorn Linnnets on Saturday the 30th.

Meanwhile, Padiham Reserves completed a league double over AFC Darwen on Tuesday night when they hit their rivals for six for the second time in a fortnight, winning 6-1 at the Anchor.

In a highly-competitive opening half hour, both sides created good chances before Padiham took the lead on 25 minutes through John Ripley.

Bobby Langford put Darwen level three minutes later after a good crossfield run saw him squeeze a shot inside the upright from the edge of the area,

Ripley put Padiham back in front shortly after when he chipped keeper Thomas Heap, and in the run-up to half-time, the Storks dominated.

They continued to boss the game after the break, and increased their lead on 53 minutes after Heap saved from Nathan Egan, and Michael Morrison gobbled up the rebound.

Paul Fildes added a fourth 10 minutes later, and 12 minutes later Martin Parkes bundled in a Fildes corner.

Richard Cowan converted another corner to complete the scoring and extend the Storks’ lead to seven points over Glossop.