PADIHAM enhanced their chances of securing a North West Counties league and cup double when they beat AFC Blackpool 1-0 in the third round of the Challenge Cup competition.
Despite dropping to third in the Premier Division, with Runcorn Town topping the table following a 5-3 win over Colne at the weekend, the Storks earned a quarter-final tie with title rivals Maine Road on Saturday, March 9th.
The tie was played on a heavy Arbories pitch which restricted the home side’s passing game and made it a real battle for both sets of players. Ben Allen went closest to opening the scoring in a goalless first half with two headers that flew just over the crossbar.
But the second half got off to a flying start for the Storks when Mark Sharples fired the home side ahead in the 48th minute. A corner was only partially cleared by the visitors and when the ball fell to Sharples 25 yards out, the midfielder made no mistake with a thumping effort past Blackpool keeper Kieran O’Boyle.
Ben Waddington was foiled in his attempt to get the away side back on level terms when Sean Davis made a superb one-handed save from the striker’s first effort before making a more conventional save from the rebound.
At the other end O’Boyle kept out Allen’s curling shot with an outstretched arm on the hour mark and then made a brave stop at the feet of Kieran Pickup four minutes later. Kieran Fletcher then went close in the 66th minute when he headed over from a corner before Kenny Taylor’s drilled centre across the face of goal caused problems among the visiting defence before being cut out for a corner.
Padiham’s best chance of grabbing a second goal fell to Andrew Tinker in the 77th minute when Owen Deakin-Pickard’s deep free-kick found the Storks substitute in a good position but he struck the upright.
Elsewhere, Padiham FC’s under 18s hammered Todmorden Borough 7-0 in the East Lancashire Alliance Youth League. Andrew Hill scored four while Paddy Mortimer, Harry Price and Joe Horsfall all added their names to the score sheet.
Padiham FC Ladies went down 2-1 away to Blackpool Ladies in the North West Women’s Regional League on Sunday.
With the fixture level at 0-0 at the interval, the Storks fell to a 1-0 deficit when the home side scored a penalty 10 minutes in to the second half. The hosts added a second five minutes later before Padiham pulled one back from a Justine Wallace free-kick in the 70th minute.