It proved a frustrating night for Padiham at Radcliffe Borough on Tuesday as they slipped to a narrow defeat at their fellow strugglers.
With points hard to come by for the Storks in the EvoStik First Division North this season after their North West Counties League title success, they had high hopes of a positive outcome, but went down to Elliot Rokka’s eighth-minute goal.
However, Steve Wilkes’ side are seven points clear of the drop zone with four games remaining, ahead of tomorrow’s trip to promotion-chasing Darlington.
The Storks had more than enough chances to draw level after Rokka’s early strike, with the first of a series of openings falling to Kieron Pickup, who headed a perfect cross from Ashley Carter straight at home keeper Chris Cheetham on 14 minutes.
Paul Fildes smashed another chance across the face of goal, and in another attack, Spencer Jordan failed to connect properly with the goal at his mercy, to leave Radcliffe’s single-goal advantage intact at half-time.
In the second half, Padiham once again had chances to draw level, with Fildestwice shooting wide from corners which found him unmarked at the back post.
The Storks’ best move of the game came with 15 minutes remaining, after a break and cross from substitute Danny Boyle found Pickup, whose shot flew just inches too high.
Boyle flashed another effort across goal near the end, and just before the whistle, Radcliffe’s Matt Landregan was unlucky with a long-range effort that, fortunately for Padiham, flew the wrong side of the post.
But Rokka’s goal proved enough, and Padiham travel to Darlington tomorrow, with the coach leaving the club at 10 a.m.
Padiham Reserves are at home to New Mills Reserves, kick-off 3 p.m.