Padiham’s win over Ashton Athletic at the Arbories Memorial Sports Grounds YESSS Electrical Arena on Saturday moved them up into sixth place in the NWC Premier Division table, three points behind early season leaders AFC Liverpool and local rivals Colne.
This was a far better performance by the Storks than their midweek showing against Barnoldswick Town, and although the game lacked incident in the opening stages of the first half, it was Padiham who finished the opening 45 minutes on top, with French striker Chappy Massamba going close on the half hour mark with a shot across the face of goal.
The breakthrough, however, arrived on 40 minutes following a Dominic Slaven corner which found its way to Kieron Pickup, who in turn kept his shot away from Ashton keeper Martin Pearson to find the back of the net.
Pickup went close again two minutes later, but this time Pearson saved his effort, and then on 44 minutes the visitors’ keeper was in action again, making an even better save to tip over a shot from Alex Ralph.
Padiham wasted no time after the kick-off to the second half, scoring within a minute of the restart when new signing Matt Cross threaded a pass into Massamba, who beat the visitors’ off-side appeal to go on and score.
Ashton substitute Adam Gilchrist livened things up for the visitors with a shot just wide of the post on 61 minutes, while at the other end, Ralph was unlucky when his shot rolled the wrong side of Athletic’s upright.
Ralph was in the thick of things again on 73 minutes, this time shooting just over after Martin Parkes had headed a Chris Turner free kick into the nippy forwards path.
On 78 minutes though, Ashton were awarded a penalty after a foul by Tom Fowler, and from the spot kick, Callum Mahoney beat Padiham keeper Sean Davis to reduce the deficit to 2-1.
The visitors created a number of half chances before the final whistle, but failed to find an equaliser leaving Padiham to run out 2-1 victors.
The Storks are in action again tomorrow night, away to Silsden in a league fixture, kick-off 7-45 p.m.