Redcar Athletic welcome Padiham to Green Lane, bidding for a place in the first round proper of the Isuzu FA Vase.
The Steelmen face a welcome break from league action, as North West Counties Premier Division side, Padiham, visit the Redcar seafront.
A massive afternoon for the club, Athletic have only once before reached the first round proper of the competition, facing all-too familiar cup woes in recent years.
Six games unbeaten, this afternoon presents the perfect opportunity to rewrite the club’s fortunes in the Isuzu FA Vase, a feat which their opponents – the Storks – won’t look to make easy.
Struggling in the league following a quick start, Padiham will have eyes for a spark to re-ignite their season, thus proving a stern test for Gary Forster’s men.
Still, the boss is optimistic, affirming his belief in the importance of the competition, saying: “FA Vase days are special for this level of football.
“A good run in this competition could really captivate the town.”
Here’s everything you need to know about this afternoon’s Isuzu FA Vase Second Qualifying Round clash with Padiham…
REMINDER: Redcar Athletic memberships are NOT valid for this fixture, due to FA Rules and Regulations.
WHO ARE YA?
Hailing from East Lancashire, as a border town of Burnley, Padiham are a side many of a Redcar persuasion will be unfamiliar with.
Nonetheless, the Storks are an outfit brimming with history, having once been considered ‘one of East Lancashire’s soccer pioneers’, and one of the finest club sides in the country.
Then known as the Caldersiders, Padiham were all too familiar with some of the flagship teams in the region, often welcoming the likes of Burnley and Blackburn Rovers to the banks of the river Calder.
The Storks found great joy in terrorising their local rivals, unbeaten in four against Burnley in the Lancashire Football Association’s Senior Cup, including a 9-1 victory at their then home on Wyre Street.
Ultimately, the inception of the football league, and legislation on professionalism in football, put a dampener on Padiham’s initial success, and the club was forced to fight for survival, until going dormant in 1916.
With damage to the ground in World War One, when the club resurfaced as the Storks in 1949, they were forced to relocate to the Memorial Sports Ground, welcoming 1’777 fans through the gates for their opening game.
In the modern era, Padiham play in the North West Counties Premier Division, having briefly flirted with the Northern Premier League, and found no joy.
Having put Sunderland RCA to the sword last weekend, Redcar Athletic come into this afternoon’s Isuzu FA Vase affair on the back of three sucessive wins.
Sparked by a 4-1 victory on the road over West Allotment Celtic, the Steelmen dispatched both Crook Town and the Ryhope outfit with due composure, despite trailing in the opening exchanges.
Redcar’s early defensive woes will be a factor in Forster’s thinking heading into a historic afternoon, with Esh Winning in the previous round of the competition the last side to fail to score in the opening half hour.
The boss will however be pleased with his players’ reactions to falling behind, as Saturday’s seven goal haul proved a perfect example of their grit and dedication, as opposed to a lack of confidence earlier in the season.
Watch | Redcar Athletic 7-2 Sunderland RCA
The visitors from East Lancashire, Padiham are experiencing a spell not unlike that of Athletic’s opening few games.
Having won two of their opening three in the North West Counties Premier League, the Storks have since ground out just the one league victory, whilst also coming from behind against Jarrow to book their place at Green Lane this afternoon.
Sat in 20th, a win today would prove welcome relief for a club with little to cheer about, and a potential spark to return the side to their previous good form.
THE ISUZU FA VASE
A club still in its infancy, Redcar Athletic have a short – and certainly not sweet – history with the Isuzu FA Vase.
Debuting in 2018, the Steelmen’s historic afternoon was ruined by Bedlington Terriers, as goals from Dylan Williamson and Stephen Young saw the home side progress.
A year later, AFC Blackpool stood between Redcar and a first competition win, which despite Stephen Jackson’s second half goal, proved a task too tough.
2020 proved the most successful year for the Steelmen in the Vase, as a valiant fightback against Whickham at Green Lane secured a spot in the first round proper for the first – and currently only – time.
Still, Redcar struggled to keep their momentum, and Holker Old Boys began a streak of losses in the competition, possibly headlined by last year’s hefty defeat to a struggling Seaham Red Star.
Last month’s victory over Esh Winning proved not only Redcar’s first of the season, but only a second in the competition to date.
The emphatic 6-3 triumph was the first win ever recorded by the club in the first qualifying round, and a first major cup win since the extra-preliminary round of the Emirates FA Cup in 2021.
Isaac Walker proved the star of the show as Redcar swept passed Esh Winning in the first qualifying round, notching a hat-trick, and twice teeing up a fellow forward, as Forster’s side hit six.
The forward struck twice and picked out Tymon as the Steelmen lead by three goals to one at the interval, before substitute Sonni Coleman found the net to deter a second half comeback from the hosts.
Walker sealed his well-taken treble in simple fashion on the stroke of the 90, playing a delightful one-two to gift Boyle his first of the season mere minutes later.
A fantastic solo goal from Bradley Tyrie gave the home crowd one last cheer, but despite finding the net three times, the Stags were never shown a route back into the game, and a confidence-lacking Redcar booked their date with Padiham FC.
Gary Forster will be relieved to be without any suspensions as the Isuzu FA Vase weekend rolls around, as both Anthony Bell and Layton Watts avoided a crucial fifth booking.
With no players sidelined by disciplinary, just three remain out through injury, as Donny Holdsworth and Joe Ferguson both make welcome progress in their return to training.
The duo are expected to return to the fold during the month of October, should rehabilitation on their long-term injuries prove successful.
A shorter absence, Joe Thompson’s awkward fall against Crook Town is likely to force the fullback onto the terraces, as Mason McNeill is set to return to the squad after a period of illness.
Redcar Athletic were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of a much loved member of the Padiham FC family in midweek, committee member and junior coach, Gaz Edwards.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.
We hope you will join the club in a moments applause before the match, in celebration of Gaz’s life, and his acheivements with Padiham FC.
For fans attending this afternoon’s Isuzu FA Vase clash, please take some time to read our matchday information package, detailing everything from parking and admission, to live music and pre-match pints.
Tickets for the match can be purchased on the gate, but for the organised amongst you, can also be bought online.
Don’t miss out an another historic day for the club!
We’ll see you there.