Meakin free kick in vain for Millers

Vodkat Premier Division

Padiham 3

New Mills 1

NEW Mills suffered only their third Vodkat Premier Division defeat of the season after they were beaten 3-1 at Padiham on Saturday.

On a bitterly cold Lancashire afternoon, the game started with a flurry of corners at either end of the pitch with the best chance of the early exchanges falling to Carlos Meakin, who rose well to meet Adam Mather’s set piece but could only divert his header over the crossbar.

The same two players linked up well for the Millers on the quarter hour when Mather drove down the left wing and delivered a decent ball across the penalty area to the unmarked Meakin, who failed to hit the target.

As the half progressed, neither side really imposed themselves on the game but it was the visitors, kicking down the infamous Arbories slope, who continued to look the more likely to open the scoring. Mather’s right foot effort unfortunately clipped the outside of the post and then, after rounding keeper Sean Davis, Daniel Douglas-Pringle’s weak shot, albeit from an acute angle, was cleared from danger by the backtracking Padiham defenders.

Padiham took the lead in stoppage time with a goal virtually out of nothing. Striker Jordan Hulme collected the ball and, after turning debutant centre half Laquan Esdaille, he curled a superb shot past Dominic Ingram-Hughes into the top corner.

Where no fault could be attached to the New Mills keeper for the opener, he was culpable for the second goal less than 90 seconds into the second half. After conceding a corner kick, the looping delivery eluded Ingram-Hughes and home skipper Martin Parkes capitalised on the loose ball at the back post.

Things got even worse for the Millers in the 56th minute when Jordan Hulme scored his second spectacular goal of the afternoon. After skipper Syd Pickford conceded a free kick, the home side played the ball into the feet of the striker who half volleyed into the roof of the net.

Almost immediately from the kick-off, Luke Horrocks broke free and should have reduced the deficit but, despite being under pressure, his shot went the wrong side of the upright.

With a quarter hour of the game remaining, New Mills eventually got on the scoresheet. Douglas-Pringle was fouled in the left hand channel and up stepped Meakin to exquisitely curl the resulting free kick into the top corner.

However, no sooner had the Millers got themselves back into the game, they shot themselves in the foot when Esdaille was sent off for squaring up to defender Kieran Fletcher after alleged abusive comments.

Even after being reduced to ten men, the Millers had chances to score again but ultimately the two goals scored either side of the break were too much for them to recover from as they lost top spot in the Premier Division to Winsford United, although New Mills have games in hand on the new leaders.

New Mills: Ingram-Hughes, Bowler, Innes, Esdaille, Swirad, Mather, Meakin, Pickford, L Grandison (Moore), Douglas-Pringle, Horrocks (Hirst).

Unused subs: Monaghan, K Grandison, Barras. Attendance: 154.