A last minute change of plan at the weekend gave me the unexpected opportunity to take in a visit to Padiham F.C. for their North West Counties Premier League encounter with Runcorn Town F.C. at the Ruby Civil Arena.
About The Teams
For those who don’t know, Padiham is a small town with a population of around 10,000, 5km outside Burnley and the fact their illustrious Premier League neighbours had no game this week due to the international break helped swell the crowd to 188, double their previous league attendance game against Hanley Town.
The ground is situated close to Pendle Hill, famous for the events of 1612 when the Witch Trials took place in Lancaster, following eleven people from the area being tried for Witchcraft. Ten of those were found guilty and executed by hanging. A statue of one of the Witches- Alice Nutter is situated in nearby Roughlee.
Currently sitting in the lower reaches of the 8th tier of football in England, the visit of Runcorn Town, four places above them in the league table, this was an opportunity to start a push towards mid-table as the season approaches the halfway point.
Although the ground is modest, the friendliness of the people involved with the club is of the highest order, with volunteers manning the turnstiles and serving food, while the clubhouse was vibrant and plenty of people having a Pint of Beer both inside the bar area and pitch side.
Padiham has had a football team since 1878 and in 1883-84, the club progressed to the third round of the FA Cup before losing to Blackburn Rovers F.C.. Indecently Blackburn boasted two teams in the semi-final that year-Rovers and Olympic!
The visitors today were Runcorn Town, formed in 1967, they are the second biggest club in the town after the Runcorn Linnets, who have had various name changes down the years as have Town who were previously known as Mond Rangers.
The town of Runcorn has a population of around 60,000 and is located 10 miles from Liverpool.
About The Game
Runcorn, cheered by around two dozen fans started the game well with an early goal for Town ruled offside, which came as a relief to the referee Darren Brown who had inadvertently headed the ball towards the Padiham goal in the build up!
Runcorn also had a penalty saved by the Padiham keeper Matt Holmes, while Luke Noble headed over the bar from inside the six yard box for the home side and Padiham also had a shot against the post.
The game was evenly balanced, but the movement and pace of the front three of Runcorn, Simon Thelwell, Craig Cairns and Kevin Exell was proving the difference and a defensive mix-up by Padiham allowed Exell to sneak in just before half time to put Town in front.
Following the break Cairns doubled the lead when he finished in a cool manner to double Runcorn’s lead.
Despite a booking for Runcorn’s midfielder Shaun Weaver for a crunching challenge which would probably be a red card in League Football, Runcorn continued to have the better chances as the game progressed and the 85th minute sending off for Ellis Hancox for two yellow cards meant there was no way back for the Storks and the points were heading to Cheshire.
Padiham F.C. VS Runcorn Town Full Time Result
Not the ideal result for Padiham, but a great afternoon out and good luck to both teams for the remainder of the season and Across the Pitch will be monitoring the progress of both clubs.
Result: Runcorn Town - 2 - Padiham F.C. - 0