North West Counties League

Premier Division

Padiham 1

Whitchurch Alport 4

WHITCHURCH Alport enjoyed a day in the sunshine over in east Lancashire on Saturday with a resounding win at Padiham to maintain Luke Goddard’s side their 100 per cent record with summer signing Joe Cuff helping himself to a hat-trick.

Whitchurch soon had their loyal band of supporters celebrating when Cuff placed a left-foot shot past Matt Holmes, following great link-up play between Arron Johns and Alex Hughes.

There was then a lull before Padiham were thrown an unlikely lifeline five minutes before half-time as a deep cross skimmed off the head of an Alport defender, leaving Danny Morton time to chest the ball down and dispatch it beyond Dave Parton.

Former Northern Ireland international Steve Jones knows these parts very well having played for Burnley during his career, so he would have been delighted to get the Reds back in front early in the second half with a first-time shot after Joe Minshall’s cross was only half-cleared.

A turning point in the game came just after the hour mark when Padiham striker James Dean inexplicably punched Parton in the face after the two tangled.

It left the referee with a decision to make and with Alport fans baying for blood, Dean’s afternoon was curtailed when the match official brandished a straight red.

All of a sudden, the pendulum swung massively in the away team’s favour.

Cuff panicked a defender into making a mistake on the byline, and he skipped away to nonchalantly fire beyond Holmes.

Padiham were tiring and in the last 15 minutes Alport really turned the screw with Cuff completing his hat-trick two minutes from time.

Had Hughes’ thunderbolt hit the back of the net instead of the goal frame, and Johns along with returning sub Dylan Bath had not missed golden chances, this would have been a far more emphatic win for the Yockings Park men.