by Robert Lee · 12/09/2018
Saturday 8th September 2018, NWCFL Premier Division
Padiham 1 (Hargreaves 75, Zuqolli sent off 35)
A bad week for West ended with further disappointment against ten-man Padiham as they contrived to leave East Lancashire empty-handed.
West dominated proceedings after Alan Zuqolli’s first-half dismissal for the Storks but were unable to make a breakthrough, and were made to pay when home substitute Jake Hargreaves stooped to head in the winner with 15 minutes remaining.
This was another immensely frustrating away-day for Steve Settle’s side, not just because they frittered away a man advantage for almost an hour, but because they created clear opportunities when both sides were at full capacity. Saul Henderson rattled the crossbar in the opening stages at the end of a neat free-kick routine, though James Dean emulated the West forward at the other end moments later when he met a Padiham corner.
The first period swung from end to end after that flurry of excitement, with Junior Dos Santos forcing Nosakhare Aghayere into a save from the edge of the box and Will Jones seeing a long-range drive flash just past his left-hand post. The flashpoint arrived just after the half-hour, almost out of nowhere – Zuqolli went in late on the halfway line, the referee deemed he had used excessive force, and the home side were down to ten.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Padiham gave as good as they got for the remainder of the half. They clipped the crossbar again after a delivery from the right, but Martyn Andrews should have given West a half-time lead when he shot tamely at Aghayere from inside the area.
The second half was much more one-sided but West were unable to find the final pass or shot. Henderson was afforded a clear sight of goal by a weak backpass not long after the restart, but Aghayere rushed from his line to smother the effort. His strike partner Ash Woods came the closest to nudging West ahead when he met Josh Stachini’s cross full on the volley, but Aghayere swung a leg and deflected the ball behind.
Settle made three substitutions in eight minutes in an attempt to force the issue, including the introduction of the in-form Ashley Leather, but the Storks delivered a killer blow with 15 minutes remaining. Hargreaves snuck in between the West defence and Jones to meet a cross from the right and divert the ball into the net.
The goal knocked the stuffing out of the visitors and Padiham looked the more likely to add to the scoring. A belated flurry of late corners eventually put the home defence under pressure but a clear chance failed to materialise as West fell to defeat again.
West: Jones, Brew-Butler (Leather 62), Stachini, Andrews, Eiselt, Eckersley , Langford, Tinker, Woods, Henderson (Banasko 70), Dos Santos (Woodward 70). Not used: Whyment.