Padiham were outgunned but not necessarily outplayed for large parts of Saturday’s Evo-Stik First Division North fixture at Northwich, despite what the scoreline suggests.
Being denied a big penalty shout by referee Tom Kirk after only five minutes didnt help the Storks’ cause, when Bobby Langford was brought down by home keeper Dane Smith, and this was just the first of a series of first half decisions by the match officials that angered the visitors, on a day when the weather and the final result were just as bleak.
Trailing to a 15th minute Gaz Burnett opener, only a well-timed tackle from full back Mo Ali prevented Brett Ormerod from levelling the scores five minutes later, and a minute later, Richie Bennett exposed some sluggish defending when he nipped in between two Storks defenders to double the home side’s lead.
Padiham fought back, and on 24 minutes a ball from Alex Grice was headed into the path of Langford by Ormerod, only for Langford to shoot just wide.
Grice was in the thick of things again on 35 minutes when his pass released Ormerod, who also shot wide, but Padiham’s pressure finally paid off when Langford used his pace again to get away from the Northwich defenders and shoot past Smith to reduce the deficit to 2-1 on 38 minutes.
The Storks were back in the game, but a minute before the interval, the Storks defence was once again breached when a ball to the back post was headed against Sean Davis and the loose ball slammed in by Godwin Abadaki to give Northwich a 3-1 lead.
In the second half, with worsening weather conditions, the Padiham players’ efforts could not be falted, but when Northwich full back Chris Smalley saw his long-range shot somehow find its way into the net on 64 minutes to make it 4-1, the result was all but decided, before Richie Burnett’s 80th minute strike that made the final score 5-1.
The result leaves Padiham still marooned at the bottom of the table, 12 points adrift of safety, having played two games more than third bottom Prescot Cables.
The Storks have 15 games remaining to try and avoid relegation.
Padiham FC Reserves’ Galaxy Lancashire League home fixture with Ashton Athletic Reserves was postponed on Saturday, as was Padiham FC’s Under 18 Floodlit League fixture against AFC Darwen on Thursday night.
Padiham FC have no midweek fixture, but face Radcliffe Borough at the Arbories Memorial Sports Grounds YESSS Electrical Arena on Saturday.
However the Storks are hosting the Lancashire School Girls’ Under 16s’ Cup game against Northumberland Under 16s’ School Girls at their YESS Electrical Arena tonight, kick-off 5.45 p.m. weather permitting.