Hunter preys on Town and fires winning shot in derby
Storks midfielder Garry Hunter scored a special last minute winner to decide the derby against Barnoldswick Town in the Hallmark Security North West Counties Football League on Tuesday night.
The former Morecambe man, who made almost 300 appearances for the Shrimps, curled an inch perfect shot over the head of home keeper Jordan Gidley and into the far corner from an almost impossible angle to secure the points.
Another high tempo game between the sides saw Padiham’s Brandon Barski head wide for the Storks and Aaron Taylor shoot straight at the home keeper in the opening 15 minutes at the Silentnight Stadium.
The hosts almost took advantage of a poor clearance by Padiham keeper Michael Donlon on 38 minutes before taking the lead two minutes later.
This time it was the visitng defence that failed to clear their lines and Zack Dale capitalised to put Town 1-0 up.
Alex Murphy then had a goal disallowed for offside before half-time and Taylor missed another good opening to put the sides level when he headed a Hunter cross wide.
Padiham turned in a strong second half performance but once again Taylor’s finishing let the side down when his 47th minute penalty kick, given for a foul on Alex Murphy, was saved by Gidley.
Kieron Pickup then failed to keep a 49th minute shot on goal down, sending the effort over the home side’s crossbar.
However, on 64 minutes, Padiham’s pressure paid off when Marc Young reacted first to a flick on by Pickup following a Mark Coyne free kick to level the scores at 1-1.
The away side continued to probe and Murphy fired straight at Gidley with eight minutes remaining from Pickup’s pin-point pass.
After Jonathan Hodgkinson almost inadvertently put in to his own net with a wayward headed clearance, Joseph Whittington was denied by Gidley with a smart save at the foot of his post.
But, with seconds remaining, Padiham’s persistance paid dividends once again as Hunter’s remarkable strike gave the Storks the reward they deserved.
It was the club’s first league win in almost a month - since a 4-1 win against Squires Gate at the Royal British Legion Stadium - and they’re now 16th in the hierarchy.
Padiham are away again tomorrow with their first ever visit to Cheshire-based side Barton FC.
The league newcomers have won just twice in 13 outings and occupy a spot in the division’s relegation zone as a result.