A night of frustration for the Rams, as despite their possession and pressure, they could not turn this into goals against a solid and determined Padiham defence, seeing the visitors win 2-1.

Yet the game started so brightly for the home side. In the third minute Mickey Saunders found space on the right hand side only to see his effort turned round for a corner. From this, Andy Dawson nodded home the first goal and for the following 30 minutes it looked as though the home side would secure an easy victory.

Despite losing Dawson to injury after just 18 minutes, it was the hosts who took the game to their opponents. Another corner found the head of debutant Lee Gaskell, but his effort went over, then a free-kick found Ian Flannery who found Saunders but his shot was deflected on to a post.

On 28 minutes a half cleared ball found Mark Sharples some 30 yards out. He volleyed the ball back towards goal only to be denied by a finger tip save that pushed the ball onto the bar.

Up to this point, the visitors had managed just a couple of forays into the Ramsbottom half, but against the run of play they equalised after 32 minutes.

A turn of speed saw Hanley outstrip Flannery on the right wing, and his low cross was deftly turned home by Morris.

This seemed to bring the visitors out of their shell. Ridehalgh was inches away from giving Padiham the lead following a corner, and a fine Morris shot was parried by Grant Shenton, making his home debut in goal.

The warning signs were ignored on 40 minutes when Shenton came to gather the ball only for the Rams defence to half-clear it straight to the feet of Haworth. He instinctively saw the keeper off his line and floated the ball into an unguarded net from 25 yards.

Flannery almost levelled the scores before the break when his header was cleared off the line, but it was a bemused Ramsbottom team that trooped off at half-time wondering just how they were behind.

The second half was much like the first, with the Rams dominant but unable to break down a resilliant defence. Joel Pilkington saw his fine effort tipped over the bar, Andy Sensaleís surging run saw his fierce drive turned round for a corner, from which Bernard Morley had a header hacked away as the Rams tried desperately to claw their way back into the game.

Padiham contributed to a highly entertaining game, mainly on the counter, but Bradley was unlucky not to extend their lead when his long-range shot clipped the top of the bar, and Hanley fired a free-kick through the wall but Shenton was equal to it.

The Rams could have grabbed an equaliser in the last couple of minutes as Phil Dean drove a shot well wide, Saunders blasted over from 8 yards and Flannery was wide with a last ditch header.

The final whistle blew and the delight on the Padiham players faces said it all.

Nothing wrong with the effort and endeavour, but the failure of the Rams to turn chances into goals will be of concern to the management team, on a night of entertainment for the large crowd.