Padiham remain top of the NWC Premier Division with two games remining despite surrendering a two-goal lead against title rivals Bootle at the Delta Taxis Stadium on St George’s Day.
Martin Parkes had a header tipped over the bar by Bootle keeper Dean Porter after just five minutes before Ben Allen scooped a shot over the bar following a flowing Padiham move.
The home side hit back with a well worked corner routine in the 17th minute which saw Sean Davis turn Mark Kilroy’s powerful drive over the crossbar.
Padiham broke the deadlock in the 28th minute when Ben Allen toe-poked the loose ball past Porter to notch his 38th of the campaign after Nathan Bond had pressurised the home defence.
The second half got off to the best possible start for the Storks when Parkes headed past Porter from Joe Garvin’s deflected free-kick in the 47th minute.
However, within four minutes Bootle pulled a goal back through player/manager Prince which put Padiham on the back foot. Neil McQueen spurned a great opportunity to level instantly but his bad miss was a massive let off for Steve Wilkes’s side.
Allen went close to extending the lead twice, heading straight at Porter while going within inches of converting Garvin’s centre, while Mark Sharples blazed over.
At the other end the Storks survived a massive scare in the 85th minute when Daniel O’Connor rattled the bar from close range but a minute later Kurtis Gill made the home side’s pressure pay off with a well taken equaliser to keep their championship chase alive.
Padiham travel to face Ashton Athletic tomorrow and face Runcorn Town on the final day of the season on Saturday, May 4th, kick-off 3 p.m.
Elsewhere, a Joel Melia hat-trick and goals from Jor Horsfall, Jack Houlker and Danny Turner in a 6-1 win over Barrowford Celtic sent Padiham’s youth team to second in the East Lancs Alliance Under 18 table.