What a start to the New Year, and what a finish to Saturday’s North West Counties League derby fixture at the Arbories Memorial Sports Grounds YESSS Electrical Arena, as Padiham came back from 3-1 and 4-3 down to draw 4-4 with Nelson.
A goal up after only four minutes when Kieron Pickup headed a cross over the head of former Storks keeper Sean Davis, Padiham were off to the perfect start.
However, within eight minutes, the home side found themselves 2-1 behind. as another former Padiham player Tom Bradley equalised on 10 minutes with an angled shot from just inside the box, and then put the visitors ahead on 12 minutes when he scored direct from a free kick.
Padiham went close on 22 minutes when Daley Woods cut in from the left and let off a shot that Davis did well to tip round his upright, and went close again on 38 minutes when Chris Turner shot just over.
At the other end, Bradley just missed out on his hat-trick when Storks keeper Mike Donlon had to react quickly to keep out another free kick down by his post in the run up to half-time.
The visitors added to their lead on 57 minutes after Nelson’s other full back Waqas Azam found himself in the six-yard box and able to beat off a challenge before smashing his shot out of the reach of Donlon, for a goal that looked to have given Nelson the platform to go on and win.
Padiham huffed and puffed without looking threatening until Darren Green chested a ball down into the path of Woods on 86 minutes, and the Padiham striker despatched the chance clinically to kick start a remarkable end to the game.
His second goal a minute later wasn’t as spectacular, but his touch on a Tom Fowler shot beat Davis to level the scores at 3-3.
Not on your life as Nelson went back in front on 90 minutes when Azam converted a penalty, and in injury time Woods completed his hat-trick when he converted a Josh Emmott cross to make it 4-4 .
Padiham have no midweek fixture but travel to AFC Fylde on Saturday for a North West Counties Football League fixture, kick-off 3 p.m., while Padiham Reserves are at home to Colne Reserves in the Lancashire League Cup competion, kick-off 3 p.m.
Then on the Sunday, Padiham FC Under 18s Youth team take on Hurst Green FC Under 18s in the quarter-finals of the Lancashire FA Under 18s Youth Cup competition at the Arbories, with kick-off at 11 a.m.