Liam Smith is excited for what’s to come from his young Storks as the squad continues to show maturity beyond its age.
The joint Padiham boss fielded eight players below the age of 21 in the 2-2 draw against Steve Wilkes’s Northwich Victoria at Wincham Park, with Ben Hoskin, James Dean and Chris Turner the only senior members included in the starting XI.
The visitors showed plenty of character against the Trickies, digging deep to salvage a point after falling two goals behind.
Oliver Ford netted his first goal for the club to reduce the deficit in the 36th minute before Lee Knight drew the visitors level with 20 minutes remaining.
“We were disappointed not to have taken all three points,” said Smith. “But, given the circumstances, having been 2-0 down, I guess you take the point.
“I thought we did enough across 80 minutes of the game. We dominated and we were the better side. We played some lovely football and probably had the better of it.
“Eight of the 11 who started were under 21 so the performance and result was really encouraging against a side who were one of the favourites to win the league going in to the season.
“To go away to a place like that and dominate the game shows where we’re at and what we’re about. It’s really exciting.”
Smith added: “So far the signs are very encouraging. “They are getting better and better every game which is very pleasing. We’ve had to work incredibly hard this summer to get to this stage.
“It takes time for things to gel so we’re still going to get better. They care about the club and they are willing to learn.
“They hang on to every single word we say as a management team and they implement it on the pitch.”
Smith has added another player with bags of potential to his ranks at the Ruby Civil Arena, taking Burnley’s Michael Fowler on a one-month loan.
The 17-year-old striker is available for Saturday’s Hallmark Security Premier Division game at home to West Didsbury and Chorlton tomorrow.
“He was very impressive against us in pre-season, he ran us ragged,” Smith said.
“He’s scored some key goals for the Under 18s. He’s hungry, sharp and everything that we’re looking for.
“Hopefully he’ll compliment what we’ve got and help us be more clinical in front of goal. He’s one of Burnley’s young, promising players.”
Clarets season ticket holders will be granted half price entry for the game with music coming from Steeros post match.
The clubhouse will then be screening England’s UEFA Nations League game against Spain at 7-45 p.m.
Burnley United have extended their 100% start to the new Storefirst East Lancashire League Premier Division season.
On Saturday, Paul Fildes’ side claimed a 6-1 win at home to promoted Waddington.
Billy Poole netted another two goals, with Kev Tomlinson, Tom Boyle, Connor O’Neil and Kuda Chingwaro also on target.
And on Wednesday night, United again beat Ribble Vallley opposition, as they saw off Langho 3-0 at Barden with a Poole hat-trick, to make it five wins from five outings to date.
United have now scored 25 goals in five ganes, with Waddington the only side to breach their rearguard in that time.
United sit top of the First Division, three points clear of Mill Hill, who have four wins from four games so far.
On Saturday, United travel to Fishmoor Drive to face Longshaw FC, kick-off 2-15 p.m.
Burnley United Reserves entertain Peel Park, again at 2-15 p.m., at Barden.
In the Lancashire Amateur League Premier Division, Burnley Belvedere are also enjoying a fine start to the new season.
On Saturday, Phil Ashton’s men claimed a fourth win from five games, beating Prestwich Firsts 3-1 at Hopwood Hall College.
The Greens are second in the table with 12 points, behind leaders Whitworth Valley Firsts.
On Saturday, Belvedere take on Rochdale St. Clements Firsts at Holden Road, kick-off 2-30 p.m.
The Greens’ East Lancashire League Premier Diviision side are also in action at Holden Road against Oswaldtwistle St Mary’s, kick-off 2-15 p.m.