Irlam 1 v 1 Padiham (Hallmark Security Premier League)
Padiham made the short trip to the Ambitek Stadium to take on newly promoted Irlam Football Club in their first away Premier League game of the season. Steve Wilkes made one change from the midweek win with Reece Pearce replacing the injured Aaron Taylor.
This was a classic game of two halves as the visitors started the stronger of the two sides, Padiham controlled the first half from start to finish with some excellent tackling in midfield and a solid back four.
The Storks very quickly discovered the weakness in the Irlam team was the pace of the back four and on a number of occasions in the first half a long ball over the top of the Irlam back four led to a number of chances.
Reece Pearce twice outpaced the Irlam back four in the first twenty minutes, but his first chance was headed clear by goalkeeper Lee White at the edge of his penalty area. In the second chance, Pearce lobbed the goalkeeper only to see his effort go just wide of the goal.
On thirty minutes, it was third time lucky for Reece Pearce as he received the ball at the edge of the Irlam area. He curled his shot past White into the far top corner of the goal to give Padiham a 1-0 lead.
Irlam then had their only really effort of the half, as Joahan Main became free on the left hand side of the area only to see Jordan Armstrong to get back and block the shot with an excellent last ditch tackle.
On Forty minutes, Brandon Barski cleared the ball up the line and Reece Pearce got to the ball just before Irlam goalkeeper White on the touch-line, but as he knocked the ball past White the keeper took him out. In my view as the last man White should have received a straight red card, but referee Kristian Silcock only showed him a yellow card.
Padiham had one final effort of the half when Martin Parkes headed just over the bar following a corner from Alex Murphy, to make the half-time score 1-0 to Padiham.
Steve Nixon must have given the team talk of a lifetime as Irlam came out for the second half like a totally different team. Padiham struggled to get hold of the ball in the second half, however the back four led by Martin Parkes held strong.
Irlam had a number of efforts at the Padiham goal in the opening fifteen minutes, but on sixty-five minutes Irlam drew level following an error by Padiham keeper Michael Donlon.
As Padiham cleared a corner to the edge of the box the ball was chipped back into an empty area, Donlon came to catch it but he took his eye of the ball and it bounced off his arm to centre forward Christian Lawlor who slid it into an empty goal to make it 1-1.
After the goal, Padiham started to get back into the game as they pushed for a second goal, this led to them getting caught on the break but Dean Burgess could only curl his effort wide of Donlon’s far post.
On eighty-five minutes, the biggest talking point of the game came as Padiham scored their second goal in the game. Marc Young’s effort hit the underside of the bar and bounced down a good two feet behind the line.
Everyone in the stadium apart from referee Silcock and his assistance saw the ball bounce behind the line, but the officials looked at each other before Silcock waved away the appeals for a goal and played on.
As full-time approached, Padiham had a great chance to secure all three points as Martin Parkes was left unmarked in the Irlam area following a Murphy cross. Unfortunately his header from the middle of the six yard box was well saved by Lee White.
The second controversal incident of the game arrived in the final minute when an Alex Murphy shot clearly struck a defenders hand in the area. But despite the appeals from the Padiham players and management referee Silcock again waved play on, before blowing the final whistle to leave the full-time score 1-1.
Speaking after the match Padiham manager Steve Wilkes said, “I’am disappointed overall that we haven’t won the game. People will talk about the goal we scored five minutes from the end, that hit the back of the net and came back out, but wasn’t given due to a poor linesman’s decision.
I was also disappointed with our second half performance, I think losing Kieran Demaine early in the second half disrupted us to much. Obviously we are lacking up front at the moment and that’s my aim now to try and bring in a couple of players.
It tells you all you need to know when the referee comes into the bar after the game and seeks you out to apologise for the liners performance.
Irlam – White, Fowles, Peters, Burgess, Cassell, Barrow, Mooney, Illidge, Lawlor, Boland, Main (Subs) Eyres, Canning, Holt, Perry, Sherwood
Padiham – Donlon, Armstrong, Barski, Demaine, Parkes, Young, Hankin, Sharples, Pearce, Cookson, Murphy (Subs) Bamba, Dunn, Firth, Walsh, Taylor
Goals – (Irlam) Lawlor (65) (Padiham) Pearce (30)
Attendance – 87