Padiham lose out in nine goal thriller to Northwich

Padiham's Kieron Pickup in action
Padiham's Kieron Pickup in action
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Padiham ended up on the wrong side of a nine-goal thriller against 1874 Northwich in an extraordinary North West Counties Premier Division fixture at the Barton Stadium.

A volley wide by Michael West and a wasted chance by Curtis Haley put 1874 on the back foot in the opening stages of the game, but a shot straight at Padiham keeper from Matthew Beadle on 13 minutes was a let off for the visitors and a warning of what was to come.

However, the Storks failed to heed that warning as two minutes later Beadle supplied the cross for Michael Brandon to head the home side in to the lead.

Alex Ralph had two free kicks saved by home keeper Matthew Conkie in the space of three minutes before Davis was called upon to save with his feet from Ryan Jackson’s attempt midway through the first half.

But moments later Steve Wilkes’s side were level when Kieron Pickup ducked and dived his way into the Northwich box before sending his shot out of the reach of Conkie to make it 1-1.

A minute later though, Northwich were ahead again when Ryan Jackson turned the ball in at the back post after a slip by Storks defender Seydou Bamba.

Pickup shot across the face of goal in the away side’s next attack while Beadle and Brandon went close to adding to the home side’s lead after the half-hour mark.

By half time, however, the Storks were on level terms again when Ralph cut in from the left before his arrowing shot deflected off defender Paul Connor and in to the net.

In the closing stages of the first half, Alex Murphy had an inswinging corner headed off the line and at the other end Davis denied Jackson from long range.

Padiham had a big shout for a penalty in the first minute of the second half for handball turned down and then gifted the home side a third goal on 48 minutes when they failed to clear and Beadle made it 3-2 with a perfectly weighted shot over Davis.

Pickup went close when he headed a Ralph cross wide and on 57 minutes the Storks were level once again as Haley headed in a Murphy cross to make the scoreline 3-3.

Northwich winger Jackson then scored the goal of the game for the home side after taking full advantage of a Josh Walne error and cutting inside to curl a shot into the Storks net to make it 4-3.

And on 67 minutes a Stuart Wellstead headed goal from a Ryan Stewart swerving free kick looked to have settled the game at 5-3.

Not so and with 10 minutes still to play Pickup beat the home side’s offside trap before racing away and calmly placing his shot wide of Conkie and into the goal to make it 5-4.

Haley was denied a dramatic late leveller in stoppage time when his strike was diverted to safety by Mike Brandon’s brilliant last ditch block.