Padiham Football Club’s chances of holding onto their Evo-Stik First Division North status widened even further on Saturday, when they were beaten at the Arbories Memorial Sports Grounds YESSS Electrical Arena by fellow strugglers New Mills.
In a must-win game, billed as arguably the biggest in the club’s history by boss Steve Wilkes, the Storks had an uphill battle from the off.
Trailing to a third minute Daniel Forde strike, the Storks, however, created enough chances themselves as the game went on to have got something from the game.
In the end it wasn’t to be Padiham’s day, even though the visitors nearly gifted the home side an equaliser when a defensive back header needed keeper Liam Higginbotham to be alert to turn the looping ball away for a corner.
This was followed by a header from Bobby Langford at the back post that went wide, a Danny Wilkins shot that was blocked for a corner, and a Langford header from a Brett Ormerod cross which hit the crossbar.
Andrew Hill also headed a Mark Sharples cross wide on the half hour mark, while at the other end, Lee O’Brien smashed a free kick against Padiham’s cross bar five minutes before the break.
In the second half, two early misses by Langford and Ormerod didn’t give Padiham the start their half-time team talk had been looking for, even though Langford’s shot across the face of the goal on 62 minutes gave the Storks supporters some hope that a Padiham goal was on its way.
Padiham did create further openings as the second half progressed, but poor finishing wasted these chances, and with it the opportunity of a comeback.
In fact, it was New Mills who came closest to scoring on 88 minutes when substitute Rob Hiza sent in a rocket of a shot that Padiham keeper Sean Davis did well to tip over his own crossbar.
With only six fixtures left to play, time is running out for the Storks and the drop back to the North West Counties Football League is looming.
Wilkes’ men are seven points adrift of second bottom New Mills, having played two games more, and with six fixtures remaining.
Padiham are next in action at Spennymoor Town on Saturday, kick-off 3 p.m.
Meanwhile, last Tuesday night, in the LFA Under 18s Floodlight League, Padiham Youth won 4-0 at Barrow’s Holker Street Furness Building Society Stadium.
Josh Emmott gave Padiham a 34th minute lead, which was doubled six minutes later with a Chris Dwyer free kick.
Kieron Gamble made it 3-0 from the spot before Emmott added his second.