Padiham into cup semi-finals

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PADIHAM twice came from behind to beat Evo-Stik First Division North side Bamber Bridge on Wednesday night to book their place in the semi-final of the Lancashire FA Co-Operative Challenge Trophy.

A frozen pitch made it difficult for both sides, though it was the visitors who adapted to the conditions quicker at the Arbories.

However, the hosts created the first opportunity of the tie when a break down the right from new signing Mark Sharples resulted in his cross being headed in to the arms of Lee Dovey by David Sherlock.

At the other end, the away side went even closer to finding the breakthrough when Greg Johnson took advantage of a slip by Sean Davis, but his looping effort hit the crossbar on the quarter-of-an-hour mark.

The visitors did take the lead in the 21st minute when a shot from Alistair Waddecar took a huge deflection to take it out of the reach of Davis and into the net via the post.

Andrew Tinker and Sherlock both had efforts saved by Dovey as the Storks pressed for an equaliser, before Ben Allen (pictured) was thwarted by the Bamber Bridge stopper when one-on-one.

However, two minutes before half-time that pressure paid off as Steve Wilkes’s side drew level when Allen’s header from a Sam Morris centre beat Dovey to make it 1-1.

Padiham continued to push forward after the break and within minutes of the restart Allen had a header tipped over the bar by Dovey.

Sherlock pulled an effort across the face of goal in the 55th minute, and then somehow contrived to stop a goalbound header from Allen crossing the line in the Storks’ next attack.

Bamber Bridge went close with a Waddecar free kick that Davis did well to save, but they restored their lead in the 68th minute when Matt Mahoney drilled an effort beyond Davis to make it 2-1.

But Brig’s lead last just two minutes when Elliot Dunn finished off a mazy run with a superb strike that flashed past Dovey.

Padiham’s winner arrived with seconds remaining when Dunn made it 3-2, finishing off a good move by Joe Garvin, to book the club’s place in the final four of the competition.

The draw is yet to be made, though the semi-final ties are scheduled for January at the County Ground in Leyland.

Potential opponents are Bacup Borough or Daisy Hill, AFC Fylde or Marine or Barrow, and Kendal Town or Southport.

Padiham are back in league action tomorrow when they entertain Stone Dominoes at the Arbories, kick-off 3 p.m.