Wilkes looking to redress the balance after clean sheet
Padiham boss Steve Wilkes has vowed to redress the balance next term after the Storks registered their first clean sheet in 20 outings in victory over Alsager Town.
Second half strikes from Tom Fowler and Aaron Taylor sealed the points at Woodland Court with goalkeeper Michael Donlon securing his first blank sinc e a 3-0 win over Cammell Laird four months ago.
The game was a far cry from the nine-goal thriller at the Arbories earlier in the month but this was a much more methodical and calculated display from the visitors.
“We’ve not been too defensively minded this season,” said Wilkes.
“That might be one of my flaws as a manager because I like attacking football and you can see that in the high-scoring games that we’ve been involved in.
“We are value for money but that was our first clean sheet in 20 games which is something that we need to look at and address for next season.
“If you keep a clean sheet you can’t get beat so it’s all about finding that balance.”
Town, rooted to the foot of the North West Counties Premier Division, need to claw back a five-point deficit in the final four games if they are to ensure survival.
But they’ll need to expose the opposition far more often than they did against the Storks if they’re to achieve that.
The away side soaked up anything Town had to offer in the opening 45 minutes with Michael Lennon’s wayward attempt being the only thing they had to show for their possession.
In fact it was Padiham who should’ve taken the advantage in to the interval when Matt Conkie denied Sean Cookson with his legs only for Jake Townsend to head the rebound on to the bar from close range.
The Storks were vastly improved after half-time, hitting their hosts on the break as they committed men forward in search of a crucial win.
Fowler volleyed home from inside the six-yard box in the 50th minute after Garry Hunter’s corner had evaded everybody before clipping the far post and Cookson should’ve extended the lead when fluffing his lines with just Conkie to beat.
Padiham’s second came with a quarter-of-an-hour of the fixture remaining.
Taylor was the man brought down in the box, he was then denied by Conkie from the spot but the striker reacted well to turn in the loose ball to make it 2-0.
After Padiham climbed to 13th in the table, Wilkes said: “Alsager were the better side in the first half but they didn’t really create any chances. They didn’t really cause us any problems at all.
“I had a word at half-time and we were very comfortable after the break.
“They needed to win so we knew they’d keep throwing bodies forward so we just had to be clever and hit them on the counter.”
“Wilkes added: “We deserved to win but I don’t think our second was a penalty. I would’ve been furious if it had been given against us.
“The defender got a touch on the ball and their dug-out has gone mental when the referee has pointed to the spot.
“It was a good performance and I want to give a special mention to Martin Parkes who was outstanding.
“He didn’t lose a header and his positional sense was fantastic. He helped us to see the game out comfortably.”
The Storks have accumulated 14 points from six games on their travels lately and they take on Ashton Athletic at Brocstedes Park this evening (Tuesday).
“It’s a bit like the form of when we were promoted three years ago,” Wilkes said.
“That year we didn’t lose away from home until the last game of the season.
“I think our style is more suited to away games because we’re good at soaking up pressure and playing on the break.”