DAVE Short scored a hat-trick and was later sent off as improving Winsford United chalked up another win last weekend.

The striker has found the net in each of the past four games, all of them victories, and has discovered his best form since manager Lee Duckworth restored him to the point of Blues’ attack.

He steered in Obi Anorou’s unselfish pass to put the home team in front on 14 minutes.

Lee Jones ought to have doubled Winsford’s lead from Dean Clarke’s pull-back only for his rising shot to clear the crossbar.

Instead the Storks drew level when Jack Tinning jabbed in from close-range after Ben Fletcher’s corner had been diverted into his path by a defender.

Padiham’s best spell followed, and goalkeeper Michael Langley had to fly across goal to keep out an attempt from distance.

Blues did take the lead again before the break when Short fired with power past custodian Tony Aghayere at the end of a counter-attack.

They received a blow when Perry Bircumshaw, an interval replacement for Clarke after he succumbed to injury, was shown a red card shortly after the interval by referee David Croft as punishment for a reckless tackle on Adam Jones.

Duckworth sent on George Blackwell, and the wide-man stretched Padiham’s defence from a wide position.

Indeed it was from one of his assists that Short completed a personal treble with a neat finish from inside the six-yard box.

He returned the favour for Blackwell, who finished clinically with a scooped finish over the Storks’ number one after his teammate had held off two defenders.

Short’s ambitious chipped effort almost made it 5-1 before he went the same way as Bircumshaw after collecting a second booking.

However Winsford protected their advantage to record a fifth win from their past seven North West Counties League matches.

Blues | Langley (GK), Skolorzynski, Clarke (Bircumshaw 46), Delaney, Jenyons, Foster, Lee Jones (Blackwell 56), Hopper, Anorou (Howell 64), Short, Elliott Subs not used Lee Duckworth, France Goals Short 14, 43, 57 Blackwell 80 Booked Short Sent off Bircumshaw (foul), Short (second caution)

Referee David Croft

Attendance 104

Additional reporting by Tony Duckworth