Storks’ season hinges on cup semi says Smith

Padiham FC V Ashton Athletic FC at The Arbories, Padiham.'Padiham FC (Blue) V Ashton Athletic (Yellow).'Padiham's Manager Steve Wilkes.'22nd August 2015
Padiham FC V Ashton Athletic FC at The Arbories, Padiham.'Padiham FC (Blue) V Ashton Athletic (Yellow).'Padiham's Manager Steve Wilkes.'22nd August 2015
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Storks secretary Alan Smith insists that the impending Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy semi-final against Lancaster City is the centrepiece of the club’s campaign.

Padiham take on the Dolly Blues at the County Ground in Leyland on February 23rd, with the victor progressing to the final, held at Bolton Wanderers’s Macron Stadium, where they’ll face holders Chorley.

Steve Wilkes’s side will be looking to go one better than their efforts in 2013 when they were dumped out of the competition by Bacup Borough, sacrificing a showdown with AFC Fylde in the finale.

“This is the big game for us,” said Smith. “Winning this game and making it to the final would make our season.

“We need to pick up some form in the league to build into this tie and generate as much confidence as we can to give ourselves the best chance of getting through to the final.

“It’s the biggest game of our season. We’re out of all the other competitions so we haven’t got anything else to play for.

“This is our one chance of winning some silverware this season. It’s a massive competition and we’ve never made it to the final.”

Smith added: “It’s massive for the club, the supporters, the players, management, staff and everyone else associated.

We don’t want the season to peter out.

“Winning the semi-final would give us something to look forward to because it’s a huge occasion. Everyone would be buzzing.”

The Storks, who have beaten Atherton LR and Atherton Collieries to reach this stage, are on a revenge mission when going head-to-head with their Evo-Stik First Division North opposition.

Back in September, before Darren Peacock and assistant Trevor Sinclair stepped down from their roles at the Giant Axe Stadium, City were victorious at the Arbories in the Emirates FA Cup first qualifying round.

Joseph Whittington gave the visitors the lead in the 66th minute before Ryan Winder secured progression from the spot in the 83rd minute.

“Obviously we’ve got to win this semi-final before talking about the final,” Smith said. “It’s all about our game with Lancaster now.

“The tie we’ve got is probably the one we would have picked out of the other three teams left in the competition.

“They beat us in the FA Cup so this is a bit of a revenge mission for us. It should be an even game. We just want to get everyone talking about Padiham again!”

The Storks make the journey to Congleton Town tomorrow in the league, kick off 3 p.m.

Meanwhile, Padiham Reserves host Nelson Reserves.