Steve Wilkes has labelled Padiham’s win over Winsford United on Saturday as the “best team performance” of the term.
The Storks cruised to a 4-1 victory at the Barton Stadium as goals from leading scorer Kieron Pickup (2), skipper Martin Parkes and Aaron Taylor settled the fixture to extend the club’s unbeaten run to five games.
Wilkes, incidentally, was instrumental in his side’s opener following a scouting mission in United’s 3-1 triumph over Squires Gate.
After the Arbories boss identified that the Blues didn’t put a man on the post at set pieces, Parkes exposed and capitalised on that defensive frailty as he got across his marker to convert Garry Hunter’s corner in the 12th minute.
Pickup doubled the advantage two minutes later when latching on to Alex Murphy’s incisive pass and lobbing the ball over Dale Latham.
The third goal arrived just before the half hour mark as Taylor netted for the third time in as many matches.
Jake Townsend and Murphy combined in the build up, the latter whipped in an enticing cross and Taylor, with his back to goal, was bundled over in the box.
The striker picked himself up and took on the responsibility from 12 yards out, making it 3-0 as he sent Latham the wrong way from the spot.
The hosts pulled a goal back with five minutes of the half remaining as defender Matt Cross was penalised for a foul inside the box and Scott Taylor found the top corner with the resulting penalty.
Townsend had the opportunity to score just before the interval to restore Padiham’s three-goal cushion but he rolled the ball inches wide of the upright with just Latham to beat.
The away side had to fight the elements in the second half but they were still able to add to their lead to secure successive wins on their travels.
Hunter freed Murphy down the left hand side, the winger squared the ball to Pickup and the striker tucked the ball beneath Latham on the hour for his 20th goal of the season.
“It was our best team performance of the season without a doubt,” said Wilkes. “We had the full package; we defended well as a unit, we took our chances and our game management was very good too.
“We’ve been playing well and we’re now unbeaten in five. It was a fantastic performance and to go away to any team in this division and score four goals is a brilliant achievement.”
Wilkes added: “We’ve got 11 games left now and we need to build on this. We still want to finish in the top 10 which would be a phenomenal achievement after the season that we’ve had.”