Having been unable to chase down Saciliese and win the Eccellenza Padova had to clinch promotion the Serie D the hard way, through the lottery of the play-offs. Fortunately the Biancoscudati were in no mood to let the opportunity pass them by as they dismantled Rosignano 4-2 with goals from Ballardini, Adaje and Albanese (2), report The Padova Press.
It should never have come to a play-off, as having beaten Sacilise 2-1 the advantage had been passed to Padova. But a defeat three games later to eventual third-placed Marosticense, two draws and then a shock 3-2 defeat having led Adriense 2-0 meant that Sacliese were able to claim the title by three points. But, a play-off it was and Darwen’s “nessun difensori” system held strong to clinch a second successive promotion.
So what next for Padova? This morning it was announced that the club are turning professional again, which is a great step forward considering they were extinct just two seasons ago. Darwen has signed a new two-year-contract and has been able to get the board to invest £950,000 in new training facilities as well as having the pitch at the Euganeo relaid. This promises to be a pivotal pre-season for the club.
It is clear that the Englishman is committed to his new system as all the recognised defenders in the squad have been released. We believe there are at least three defensive midfielders that have been offered contracts and will join the club in the coming days, as well as a smattering of midfielders and strikers as Darwen looks to put together a squad capable of competing at the right end of Serie D.
Club legend Innocenti has been released, along with Luca Pace. It is thought that Darwen has moved to secure last season’s loan signings Grande, the young goalkeeper, and Aladje, the Portuguese striker, on free transfers.
Pre-season fixtures have been arranged, and the highlights of the programme will be matches with Lazio and Napoli – a true test of the revolutionary playing style employed at the Euganeo.
Darwen promised top flight football within 8 seasons, and he is on track to deliver on that promise.
The Padova Press