Padiham shoot up to third

Ben Allen (pictured far right)
Ben Allen (pictured far right)

TWO goals from Ben Allen shot the Storks up to third in the NWC Premier Division table as they beat Wigan Robin Park at the Arbories on Wednesday night.

The victory saw Steve Wilkes’s side maintain their unbeaten opening to the campaign, though it could have been different had their opponents taken advantage of their good start in the opening 20 minutes of the fixture.

The visitors went close when a cross in to the 18-yard box was headed across the face of goal by Stephen Kay and into the path of the unmarked Ryan Small, who somehow glanced wide from close range.

Sean Davis then came to Padiham’s rescue to thwart Robert Hanley in the 11th minute, before denying Philip Howard on two occasions.

Liam Foster tested Jason Foulds inbetween Howard’s attempts when he cut in from the right and let fly with a stinging drive, but the Wigan keeper produced a superb save to prevent the breakthrough.

However, Foulds could do nothing to stop Padiham from taking the lead in the 26th minute when Joe Garvin’s deep free kick caused panic in the Wigan defence, allowing Allen to glide a header past the visiting keeper to give the Storks a 1-0 lead.

A bad injury to Garvin in the 55th minute saw the Padiham midfielder replaced by David Sherlock, who looked dangerous on a number of occasions before testing Foulds on the hour mark.

Ian Rowland’s angled shot needed a smart save from Davis in the 62nd minute, and with nine minutes remaining the Storks stopper did well to keep out Howard’s shot on the turn.

A minute later Allen hit the upright but went one better moments later when he nodded home a Neil Stansfield cross after good approach play by Liam Foster to make it 2-0 at the final whistle.

Padiham take on league leaders Bootle tomorrow at the Arbories with kick-off at 3 p.m.

Elsewhere, Padiham FC Under 18s prepared for Monday’s FA Youth Cup tie at AFC Fylde with a 10-1 demolition job over East Lancashire Alliance League opponents Brierfield Celtic.

Harry Price scored five in the rout, Ryan Black added a hat-trick while goals from Henry Riley and Joel Melia ensured the Storks remained top of the league.

Padiham FC Under 13s were also triumphant in their midweek fixture, beating Haslingden 4-1. Kerrigan bagged a brace in the victory while Grant and Hughes added their names to the score sheet.