PADIHAM picked up three more points on the road when they beat Alsager Town 1-0 at the Law Training Stadium in the North West Counties Premier Division.
But Steve Wilkes’s side found the going tough in the opening 25 minutes as the home side found their feet first and dominated. Respective efforts from Theo Robinson and Liam Rigby, saved by Sean Davis while the other flashed wide, were clearly warning signals from Alsager of their intent.
And it was courtesy of some last ditch defending that kept the scoreline goalless in the 22nd minute when Davis made a double save following a corner from the right before Martin Parkes, Tom Bradley and Liam Foster all made blocks on the line.
But the Storks came to life soon after and it was Neil Stansfield who registered Padiham’s first effort on goal after a marauding run through midfield, but Tom Harrison saved.
Two minutes later, however, Padiham went one better when a free kick was headed on by Parkes and David Sherwood scored with a shot on the turn to put the visitors 1-0 ahead.
Sherlock tested Harrison again on the half hour mark and looked to have put Padiham 2-0 up in the 36th minute when he applied a vital touch to Bradley’s cross. Referee Alan Sarginson gave the goal but Leicester-based assistant referee David Russell had other ideas, flagging for a second phase offside.
Alsager had another opportunity to score in the 40th minute when a corner swung in to the back post found Ryan Mitchell who forced the ball wide of Padiham’s upright. At the other end Sherlock was causing problems again, this time looping a shot just over and on to the netting.
The second half saw Padiham defend well while the referee was guilty of missing two big penalty appeals. The first saw Sherlock pushed in the back while a handball in Padiham’s 18-yard box went unpunished.
In time added on Storks substitute Daniel Smith should have doubled the advantage when one-on-one with keeper Morrison, but his tame, chipped shot was easily saved.
Padiham’s rescheduled Lancashire FA Co-Operative Challenge Trophy tie with local rivals Colne takes place tonight with kick-off 7-45 p.m. at the Arbories.
Then on Thursday Padiham FC’s youth team will entertain AFC Blackpool in the FA Youth Cup also at the Arbories with kick-off scheduled for 7-30 p.m.
Elsewhere, Padiham FC Ladies were disappointed to go out of the FA Womens FA Cup competition at the Arbories on Sunday, conceding a last minute goal to go down 3-2 against Preston North End Ladies.
In atrocious weather conditions the Storks took a 15th minute lead through Lauren Navan but conceded soon after to go in level at the interval. Preston took the lead after the break but when Justine Wallace made it 2-2, extra-time loomed.
But with less than a minute to go the visitors snatched a last gasp winner to go through to the next round.