PADIHAM’S long wait for a victory is finally over after a much-needed three points against Radcliffe Borough to rekindle their hopes of avoiding relegation from Evo-Stik League First Division North.

It was the Storks first win since beating Farsley AFC 3-1 back in October - a run of 14 league and cup games that has seen them sink to the bottom-of-the-table.


But goals from Bobby Langford and Mark Sharples - plus surviving the inevitable late scare - saw Steve Wilkes’ side win for only the third time this season and close the gap on New Mills immediately above them to four points.

“We’re not getting carried away but this was a big boost for the players, the management and all the supporters,” said club secretary Alan Smith. “We have finally ended our losing streak and we can now look forward to trying to pick up more points and scrap to stay up for the rest of the season.”

Padiham go to Bamber Bridge next weekend with renewed confidence and a result there would certainly boost their survival hopes.

At the Arbories on Saturday, the Storks got off to a flying start thanks to Langford’s diving header from a Curtis Haley cross after just two minutes.

It set the perfect platform for Padiham to go on and win but they could not add to their early goal and had to be content with a narrow 1-0 lead at the break.

Radcliffe started the second half brightly and came within a whisker of equalising when Ash Blake’s shot was turned on to the Storks’ upright by young keeper Ross Dalton making his debut on loan from Preston North End.

But Padiham survived the visitors’ pressure and doubled their lead in the 57th minute when Langford broke free down the left and pulled the ball back to Sharples who powered his shot in to the roof of the visitors’ net.

Radcliffe reduced the deficit with 15 minutes to go to set up a nervy finale when Sam Cook beat Haley with a shot on the turn.

And Borough very nearly grabbed a late leveller when substitute Chris Mason rattled the Storks crossbar with a well struck effort in the 82nd minute Padiham closed out the final few minutes without any more scares to clinch that elusive victory.

Elsewhere, Clitheroe earned a share of the spoils against Burscough thanks to Jason Hart’s equaliser.

Edward Toner gave the visitors the lead just before the break and it appeared it would be enough to seal victory until Hart’s late intervention three minutes from time.