Flixton 3, Padiham 3

Martin Parkes almost won it for the Storks
Martin Parkes almost won it for the Storks

AS far as non-league games go, Padiham’s Premier Division six-goal thriller at Valley Road on Wednesday evening was an absolute cracker.

The Storks started well, and were denied an early lead when Flixton keeper James Jowsie saved well from Ed O’Neill in the third minute. But the visitors only had to wait a couple of minutes after that opening opportunity to break the deadlock. A handball led to a Padiham penalty and Paul Fildes made no mistake from 12 yards out to put the Storks in to the ascendency.

Flixton went close to grabbing an equaliser in the 14th minute when the league’s leading goalscorer Astley Mulholland was denied by an exceptional point blank save from Josh Boothman.

And 10 minutes later Mulholland was in the thick of things again as he was upended by the Padiham keeper which resulted in a yellow card and a spot kick. Mulholland picked himself up and slotted the ball home to make it 1-1.

Four minutes later Flixton completely turned the game on its head when Brian Matthews broke free before sending a fierce, angled shot past Boothman to make it 2-1. Mulholland tested Boothman again just after the half hour mark but once again the Padiham stopper was equal to the effort.

Padiham began to get back in to the game after a period of Flixton pressure with Lloyd Balazs going close before Fildes levelled the scores in the 38th minute after he was brought down in the box before converting the third penalty of the night.

The Storks should have had their third spot kick of the night moments later when Fildes was again brought down under a heavy challenge but this time the match referee astonishingly waved away the vociferous appeals. Instead a corner was awarded and from the resulting set-piece Jowsie had to be alert to keep O’Neill’s bending effort out.

The second half took some time to warm up but when it did both sides served up a highly competitive contest which resulted in Mulholland scoring again in the 72nd minute to restore Flixton’s advantage, despite being pressurised by Padiham debutant Luke Thompson.

Padiham then drew level for a third time when substitute Nathan Egan went on a solo run before his deflected shot beat Jowsie to make it 3-3. Martin Parkes had two late headers go close and Egan blazed over when through on goal, but a point apiece at the final whistle was a fitting outcome.

Padiham are at Maine Road on Saturday while Padiham Reserves host AFC Darwen.