Both sides had chances to win Wednesday night’s high tempo Hallmark Security NWCFL Premier Division fixture between Padiham and AFC Darwen at the Arbories, but the derby fixture ended 1-1.
The visitors had two early attempts on goal by Conor Gaul, which both ended up in the clutches of Storks keeper Michael Donlon, while Padihams first attempt on goal on 15 minutes was a long range effort from Tom Bradley, which Darwen keeper Ben Proctor also saved with ease.
Seven minutes later, however, Proctor had to be more active to palm away a James Dean effort, and on 38 minutes Proctor was picking the ball out of his own net after first saving a Kieron Pickup effort, but failing to keep out Dean’s follow up effort which put the Storks 1-0 up at half-time.
Dean was in action again just after the break and had a great chance to make it 2-0 after being played in on goal, but his shot was saved by Proctor, giving the visitors a let off which they exploited when substitute Jonathan McDonald was brought on and had an instant impact, setting up Bobby Langford to equalise on 68 minutes and ignite a period of Darwen pressure that had Padiham on the back foot.
The home side weathered AFC Darwens attempts to win the game and were inches away from taking the lead themselves when a Dean ball in across the face of goal on 82 minutes nearly gave Padiham substitute Mark Coyne the chance to score with a diving header.
Then in time added on, a Brandon Barski long ball into the path of Dean looked certain to give Padiham the victory, but the Storks forward failed to beat Proctor in a one on one duel.
Padiham at home again on Saturday to Runcorn Linnets.