PADIHAM master-minded the fight-back of the season as they reversed a 2-0 deficit to beat high-flying Ramsbottom United 3-2 at the Riverside ground on Tuesday night.
It was an end to end encounter from the first whistle, with Sean Davis tipping an effort over the bar after just four minutes.
United keeper Grant Shenton was also called into action soon after as he prevented Lee Morris from opening the scoring with a fine, low save at full stretch.
Morris then forced Shenton to turn away his snap shot in the 22nd minute, before John Blackley fired across the face of the home side’s goal.
Shaun Carey then worked an opening but could only find the arms of Shenton with his effort.
But the hosts fought back with a vengeance as Lee Gaskell’s goalbound effort was tipped over the bar by Davis.
However, United took the lead from the resulting set-piece as Dominic Smalley’s centre found imposing centre half Ian Flannery, who out-jumped the visiting defence to head home.
The Storks responded well and in the run up to half-time they put the hosts under sustained pressure.
Carey chipped his effort just over in the 32nd minute, Martin Parkes fired an effort inches too high and two minutes later Jordan Hulme ended a good run with a looping shot that Shenton did well to keep out.
Ramsbottom, on the other hand, had the final say in an exciting first half when Mark Drew’s curling free-kick whistled past the post.
The first chance of the second half fell to Morris who cut in along the bye-line before angling a shot past the post.
However, with only three minutes gone since the re-start, United went 2-0 up when Jon Robinson turned in a cross from the right.
But the two-goal advantage was short-lived and six minutes later Padiham pulled a goal back when full back Barry Shuttleworth thumped a 20-yard free-kick through the defensive wall and past Shenton.
And just before the hour mark the Storks were level after Stuart Telfer was brought down in the penalty area and Morris stepped up to convert from the spot.
Hulme at one end for Padiham and Drew at the other both went close before Craig Chadwick’s side went ahead in the 73rd minute.
A run in to the box by Hulme saw the Storks’ leading scorer fire a shot that Shenton could only parry in to the path of Morris, who made no mistake from close range to give Padiham a 3-2 lead.
Andrew Sensale and Morris had good chances to increase Padiham’s lead in the run up to the final whistle, while Ramsbottom went close with a free-kick that flashed over the crossbar.
Victory for the Storks ended Ramsbottom’s eight-game unbeaten run, which knocked the Rams off top spot in the NWC Premier Division.
Padiham entertain AFC Liverpool at the Arbories tomorrow with kick-off at 3 p.m. The Storks have designated the fixture as ‘Donation Day’ and the club is asking supporters to donate anything they think might help the club whether it be cash, raffle prizes, equipment or materials.
Supporters can contact club secretary Alan Smith on 07775 717698 for more information.
Tickets for Padiham’s Sportsmans Dinner at Turf Moor on Thursday, November 24th are also still available.
Barry Fry is the guest speaker for the event and tickets are priced at £25.
Meanwhile, Evo-Stik League First Division North side Clitheroe have swooped to sign Padiham’s leading goal scorer Jordan Hulme (pictured) after submitting the required seven day notice of approach.
The Evo-Stik strugglers are hoping the Storks target man can do the same thing for them as they fight to prevent relegation back to the North West Counties league.
Chadwick, meanwhile, is hopeful of bringing in a replacement striker in time for tomorrow’s fixture.