Padiham look to improve Arbories

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WITH the Storks enjoying their best ever start to a NWC Premier Division campaign, Padiham Football Club has to prepare for the possibility of gaining promotion to the Evo-Stik First Division North.

Any club wanting the opportunity to secure a jump up to step four in the non-league structure has to formerly apply to the Football Association by the end of November and have been given an ‘E’ ground grading by the FA. The Arbories Memorial Sports Ground currently has a grading one below the required level.

Padiham FC secretary Alan Smith said: “I can confirm Padiham will be sending an application for promotion to the next level of football in the non-league pyramid by the end of the week and we have already started to look at what ground improvements can be put in place by March 31st, 2013, to be even considered. As is the case this will be an expensive improvement package that the club will have to put in place but one we will have to find the finance for if we are to make progress as a football club.”

Meanwhile, there was disappointment all round at the Arbories on Saturday as the club missed out on what was expected to be its biggest attendance of the season as the clash against manager Steve Wilkes’s former club Runcorn Linnets was postponed.

Padiham FC’s reserve team fixture away to Wigan Robin Park was also postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. On Sunday the Storks’ youth team exited the Lancashire FA Youth Cup competition at the last 16 stage when Elton Vale held the youngsters to a 0-0 draw before booking a quarter-final spot with a 4-2 triumph on penalties.

Padiham FC Ladies were also knocked out of the County Cup competition at the weekend, losing 5-2 away to Atherton Ladies with a place in the semi-final up for grabs. Trailing 4-0 at half-time after a poor first half performance, the Storks rallied after the break to score twice in the opening five minutes with goals from Justine Wallace and Charlotte Holden.

Padiham looked to have added a third goal when Elise Howarth put the ball in the net only to see the strike ruled out for offside. The hosts made sure of their passage in to the final four, rounding off the scoring just before the final whistle.

Padiham travel to play Silsden tomorrow night and entertain Stockport Sports at the Arbories on Saturday.