PADIHAM’S game at Crilly Park beat the weather on Saturday but the Storks failed to beat their hosts and had to settle for a point.

On a glue pot of a playing surface as the bright sunshine defrosted the frozen pitch, the Storks had the better of the opening 10 minutes but it was the home side who had the ball in the back of the net first. To Padiham’s great relief, though, it was disallowed after referee Jonathan Hunt ruled the ball had been kicked out of the hands of Storks keeper Josh Boothman before it went in.

On 32 minutes Atherton did open the scoring after the Storks lost possession, allowing Alex Stoddern to break away.

But Padiham hit back six minutes later when Andy Haworth smashed in a cross from Ed O’Neil to make it 1-1 at the break.

After the half time the game switched from end to end with both sides creating openings – but no-one was capable of scoring the goal that would have earned them the win.

* Padiham Reserves kept up their challenge for back-to-back NWCL Reserve League titles after beating Daisy Hill Reserves 4-1 thanks to goals from Nathan Egan (2), Danny Fagan and Curtis Gallagher.