Storks boss Steve Wilkes is counting the cost of vital points dropped after his side’s survival scrap took another turn for the worse.
Padiham’s bid to climb off the foot of the Evo-Stik First Division North table was scuppered at the weekend as Brighouse Town’s William Tolley cancelled out Brett Ormerod’s penalty within 60 seconds in a 1-1 draw at the Arbories.
The hosts missed a number of guilt-edged chances to take maximum points that would’ve ultimately aided their plight, but Wilkes admitted it was an all too familiar occurrence.
In recent weeks, the Storks conceded a stoppage time leveller against Burscough at Victoria Park while Mossley overturned a two-goal deficit to win 3-2 at Seel Park. Those games, Wilkes accepts, could prove pivotal.
“We should’ve had three points,” he said. “In the final few minutes alone we’ve had a couple of great chances. Bobby Langford put Brett Ormerod’s cross over the bar from inside the six yard box.
“Then a three-on-one break in the last minute has resulted in Danny Wilkins slipping inside the area with Langford and Ormerod square. Those opportunities could’ve taken us off the bottom of the league.”
Wilkes added: “They equalised within about 30 seconds. We didn’t play well in the first half but we were the better team after the break.
“They had two shots on target in 90 minutes so that’s another two points dropped. We’ve lost some big points recently which is disappointing.
“It was important for us to climb off the foot of the table as soon as possible going in to this final run in.
“Radcliffe Borough won which was a bad result for us but New Mills and Prescot Cables lost. We would’ve put pressure on the teams above us.”
Wilkes, who has signed defender Tom Fowler and midfielder Andy Hill from Silsden, is now challenging his side to exceed expectation starting by beating Harrogate Railway Athletic tomorrow.
“We’ve got to win every game and there’s eight of them left,” he said. “That’s a massive task with a team that’s only won three games all season.
“We certainly need to get back-to-back wins in our next two because that would give the table a different complexion.
“It would lift the spirit and confidence within the dressing room and puts pressure on our rivals. It’s difficult but the players have understood the challenge for a long time. We lost 15 games on the trot earlier in the season and that’s tough to come back from. They are under no illusions as to how tough the task is ahead.”
Meanwhile, Wilkes is clawing on to any signs of hope following a tweet from @TheNPLGroup which read: “The team second bottom may receive a reprieve however if teams fold/resign depending on other divisions.”
Wilkes said: “We need to finish off the bottom to give ourselves a chance. That’s hugely important. That’s what we’ve got to cling on to so that’s our ultimate aim.”