Wilkes putting on positive front!

Brett Ormerod. and fellow new signing Jason Hart.
Brett Ormerod. and fellow new signing Jason Hart.

Storks boss Steve Wilkes is maintaining a positive front despite the club creeping ever closer to the Evo-Stik First Division trap door.

The weekend defeat against Northwich Victoria - their 14th consecutive loss in all competitions - means that Padiham now have just 15 league games to overturn a 12-point deficit to secure safety.

“Confidence is low throughout,” said Wilkes. “The whole club is feeling down. That’s another game gone now so it leaves us with 15. I’m trying to be as positive as possible.

“We went to Northwich without any pressure - I told them to play with smiles on their faces. There was no talk of relegation or about the fact that we’ve only won two games all season. I got a reaction from the players in the first half.”

A brace from Gary Burnett plus goals from Richard Bennett, Godwin Abadaki and Christopher Smalley condemned the Storks to their 22nd defeat of the term and it was their eighth game domestically where they’d shipped five goals. But Wilkes rued his side’s misfortune and questioned the decisions of match officials.

“It’s another game where we’ve conceded five goals so it’s getting tougher and tougher by the minute,” Wilkes said. “New Mills picked up another point as well.

“We’ve conceded two poor goals, hit back with a nice goal from Bobby, and then Brett Ormerod has hit the post with a great touch and a lovely bit of skill that would’ve made it 2-2.

“We were well in the game at half-time, we’d been well on top, but they’ve had three chances and scored three times which is worrying. We didn’t play as well in the second half.”

Wilkes also questioned the decisions of matchday officials: “It’s becoming a bit of a theme. We played well in the first half and we were by far the better team. But football is a funny game. We played Northwich Victoria in our first game at this level last year. After a few minutes Sean Davis was controversially sent off and they scored the penalty.

“After four minutes at the weekend Bobby Langford was completely wiped out by their keeper when through on goal and the referee has waved play on. They should’ve been down to 10 men and we should’ve had a penalty. Even their chairman admitted that it was a blatant penalty after the game.”

After Padiham went unrewarded following two further incidents which saw Alex Grice’s cross handled and Martin Parkes stamped on off the ball, Wilkes added: “We just need a break from somewhere. Decisions went against us at the weekend and they’ve had a big impact. It’s not on. Officials are there to make these decisions.

Granted they can’t get them right all the time but they’re getting the easy ones wrong. Look at the disallowed goal for Spurs at the weekend. How is that happening?”

Padiham face 19th place Radcliffe Borough at the weekend, who have won just once in their last 10 outings. Elliott Rokka salvaged a point for Boro back in October as Padiham surrendered a two-goal lead at Stainton Park, but Wilkes fully acknowledges the importance of claiming maximum points on this occasion.

“We’ve got Radcliffe Borough on Saturday so we’ll go again,” he said. “We’ve trained hard and now we’ll hopefully pick up the three points we need at home. It’s a good opportunity for us to stop this winless run and I’m confident we can get something from the game.

“We are playing a team in and around us in the table and with 15 games left we have to make that count. We’ve got to win as many games as possible. We’ve put ourselves in this situation so we need to deal with it.”