GUTSY Padiham slipped to defeat to Evo-Stik League First Division North play-off chasers Darlington – but boss Steve Wilkes was still proud of his depleted troops.

The Storks headed North to face the former Football League club at Heritage Park with a patched up side and Wilkes was forced into an early substitution through injury.

That left them staring down the barrel and they went a goal down on 27 minutes through Stephen Thompson.

But the Storks battled on and defended well and it took a second-half Amar Purewal double to finally seal the points.