Familiar faces await the Storks; Burnley United and Belveder off to a flying start

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Liam Smith won’t be treating tomorrow’s game against Northwich Victoria any differently to any other fixture the Storks will play in the Hallmark Security West Division.

There’ll be a group of familiar faces at Wincham Park when Padiham pay a visit with Smith and Dixon Lambert’s predecessors, Steve Wilkes and Steve Pickup, at the helm while former captain Dominic Craig, Brandon Barski and Mark Ayres are all now part of the Trickies set up.

Padiham FC V Ashton Athletic FC at The Arbories, Padiham.'Padiham FC (Blue) V Ashton Athletic (Yellow).'Padiham's Manager Steve Wilkes.'22nd August 2015

Padiham FC V Ashton Athletic FC at The Arbories, Padiham.'Padiham FC (Blue) V Ashton Athletic (Yellow).'Padiham's Manager Steve Wilkes.'22nd August 2015

“It’s no different to any other game,” he said. “There are ex managers and former players involved but we’re focussed.

“We’ll go there with no pressure because they’ve set big expectations. We’re going there as underdogs even though they haven’t won in their last three.

“We can go there with freedom, play our own game and not get caught up in the derby atmosphere.”

Meanwhile, the joint boss at the Ruby Civil Arena has described Padiham’s form so far as “consistently inconsistent”, comparing the unpredictability of his side’s performances to Jekyll and Hyde.

The Storks have alternated between winning and losing, with the latest victory against 1874 Northwich followed up by a 1-0 reversal to Squires Gate.

“We’re consistently inconsistent,” said Smith. “We had a fantastic win on Saturday, beating a very good team, but I think two games in two days was just too much. We’ve been a bit like Jekyll and Hyde.

“We were a bit leggy because we put so much in to Saturday. We weren’t too bad, we bombarded them in the second half, but we’re a new team and people are still trying to click.

“We’re a young team and most lads are under 23. Our centre-back pairing are teenagers. I’m not worried in the slightest, they’re still learning from mistakes.

“We’ve just got to teach them about consistency and how to manage games. Sometimes you’ve got to play ugly to pick up points.”

Burnley United made it three wins from three games on Saturday with a convincing victory at Whinney Hill.

And Paul Fildes’ side have now scored 16 goals without conceding, to go top of the Storefirst East Lancashire Football League First Division.

On the back of a 10-0 win against Barnoldswick Town, and the 2-0 derby success against Burnley Belvedere’s East Lancashire League side, United eased past Whinney Hill at Burnley Road, with goals from Billy Poole, Kuda Chingwaro, Connor Stuttard and Chris Walker.

While it wasn’t the best performance overall, it was another four goals and another three points, ahead of tomorrow’s clash against Ribble Valley neighbours Waddington at Barden, kick-off 2-15 p.m.

United’s reserves’ fixture at home to Langho Reserves on Saturday was postponed.

Meanwhile, Burnley Belvedere’s East Lancashire League side went down to a 3-0 defeat against Barrowford Celtic at Holden Road on Saturday.

Tomorrow, they make the short trip to the Rhyddings to face Langho, again at 2-15 p.m.

Belvedere’s first team have also made an impressive start to the season.

They sit second in the Lancashire Amateur League Premier Division after claiming a third win in four outings on Wednesday night against Old Mancunians at the Armitage Centre.

The Greens had to dig deep to snatch a 3-2 win.

Nathan Lawless netted with a first half penalty, before skipper Dale Goldsbrough led by example, scoring twice after the break, as Belvedere came out on top.

However, they were indebted to a couple of outstanding stops from keeper, and man of the match, Damo Ellison near the end, in a fine team performanc.

Tomorrow, Phil Ashton’s men are again on the road as they take on bottom side Prestwich Firsts at Hopwood Hall College, with kick-off at 2-30 p.m.

Belvedere then have to wait a week for their next fixture, with Rochdale St Clements making the trip to Holden Road, again at 2-30 p.m.