Castleton started the game with a completely different side from the team that started the season in the famous blue and white stripes, the new crop would need to gel well to battle against a side that had previously beat them 9-0.
The game began and Padiham applied some early pressure, testing keeper Canning from outside the box.
Fans favourite Alan Brannick was shifted to right back and had to be on his toes early on as Padiham’s wingers looked to tire the towering defender.
The first blow of the game came soon in the first half. Mark Baxendale brought down Padiham’s centre forward as he looked to run free. After some arduous discussions with the referee, not even captain Steve McCann could change the mind of the over eager Official who Showed a straight red to Baxendale. The referee deemed Baxendale to be the last man he brought down but that was debatable.
With 10 men the quest for victory was hard enough, but with 9 men it would seem impossible. 30 minutes in, the inaugural Alan Brannick was put under pressure as two Padiham defenders sandwiched Brannick and won the ball, but as one Padiham defender fell to the ground, Alan Brannick in a moment of madness seemed to stamp on the defender, and with the referee in close proximity, there was no doubt what happened next.
Gabs were down to nine men, and the task becoming more and more difficult.
Credit to the Castleton spirit as they held out for the next fifteen minutes with relative ease. They even hit the bar from a 25-yard lob. Padiham were restricted to nothing but long shots, which were easy for Canning. And Gabs entered the half 0-0.
The second half commenced and no sooner had I sat down with my pie, cup of tea, and weekly telegram from the queen Padiham had broken the deadlock.
A corner was swung to the back post, and it was collected by Vinny Braine who was alone and on hand to slot home the first of the afternoon.
Controversy again as Gabs would suffer another loss. 60 minutes in Moses Tahir came under pressure down the right flank, the linesman gave a decision Tahir and he rightly protested.
The officious referee still running high on the adrenaline rush of showing his cards waddled over and spoke to the linesman, giggled, then surprisingly gave him a straight red card! The officials reported that Tahir had used abuse language towards the Linesman. Gabs down to 8 men, and the task was now even more difficult.
Castleton held out for another 10 minutes but could not prevent two more goals being conceded.
After 70 minutes Lowber headed home for Padiham’s second, and five minutes later Vinny Braine Shot home after he was left unmarked in the box, marking had become a bit of a chore since Castleton were reduced to 8.
Gabs Michael Ward was brought on to calm the storm, and he tested the strong winds with a shot from the half way line, but the ball sailed minutely over the bar.
Castleton held out for another 15 minutes till the end of the game, and were resilient in Padiham’s advances and the game drew to a close at 0-3.
In what promised to be an excellent game, turned into a farcical as three straight reds spoiled the game. The referee had clearly eaten his shredded wheat in the mornin, as there were more Red cards on show than the regionally acclaimed Castleton home made meat pie.
Alan Brannick took the time to offer his opinions on the game; “It would have been a decent game of football but the referee obviously had other plans. I had just been fouled by two opposition players, knocked of balance and then landed on one of them, how the foul went against me I don’t know”
Castleton travel to Ashton Town this coming weekend. And will have no choice but to make several changes as Brannick, Tahir and Baxendale all begin their 3 game suspensions.