Ramsbottom United returned to winning ways and progressed in the Lancashire F.A. Trophy at the expense of near-neighbours Padiham on a bitterly cold night at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium.
On a bone-hard pitch, the visitors started brightly when Louis Mayers raced down the right before planting a shot across the face of goal and wide.
A series of corners followed before young home keeper, Jake Chadwick, making his debut, blocked a close range effort from Ben Allen.
Ashley Carter the saw his close range shot diverted for a corner as Padiham looked to take control early on.
On 13 minutes, the Rams almost took the lead in comical fashion. A half-clearance fell to Jordan Hulme on the edge of the box. He managed to get his head to the bouncing ball, and sent it back towards an empty net. Sean Davis, the Padiham keeper, scrambled back to claw the ball out from the goal-line.
The game moved from end to end, with Hulme, usually playing in defence or midfield, looking dangerous in a rare performance in attack. Whilst he was unlucky in the first half, the second half certainly belonged to him.
Tom Brooks thought he’d grabbed the lead for the home side when he nodded home a free-kick, but he was denied by the linesman’s flag, and Grant Spencer tried his luck from 30 yards, but was well wide.
Spencer was also denied with half-time approaching as he raced through only to see Davis make the save.
Dominic Craig had a chance to give the Storks the interval lead as he ghosted into the area, but he placed his shot over Chadwick’s bar.
Chadwick, who was having a confident debut, denied Allen again early in the second period, before an inspired substitution finally led to the first goal.
Danny Warrender came off the bench on 56 minutes, and his first taste of the action was to win a corner.
The corner was partially cleared out to the Rams’ left hand side, where Spencer sent over an in-curling cross, and Warrender bent down to nod home past the keeper from close range.
Two minutes later, the Rams doubled the lead.
Spencer, making his 100th appearance for the club, played Hulme into the area, and he confidently fired past Davis from 15 yards.
On 68 minutes, Hulme was again in the right spot just inside the area and he grabbed his second and the Rams third goal in a devastating ten minute spell.
A late rally from the visitors saw Craig net a consolation on 83 minutes when he had time and room in the box to fire home, but the last word belonged to Hulme, who notched his hat-trick in the last minute.
The 4-1 score-line may seem a little harsh on Padiham, but it is the Rams who move into the next round on the back of a much better second half display.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED: Chadwick, Toth, Roberts, Stopforth (Bradbury 65mins), Warburton (Warrender 56mins), Priestley, Smalley,Pilkington, Brooks (Gaskell 65mins), Hulme, Spencer. Subs not used: Smith, Edghill