West Riding County FA Challenge Cup quarter-final: Steeton 1 Carlton Athletic 6

STEETON lost for the first time since September 9 as their 13-game unbeaten run ended at the hands of reigning County Cup holders Carlton Athletic.

The Chevrons started brightly after the pitch was deemed playable despite heavy rain in the build-up.

They were unlucky not to take an early lead when a shot from leading scorer Ben Clarkson narrowly missed the target.

A later effort by the same player brought a fine diving save from Carlton keeper Jonny Gardiner.

After ten minutes, however, it was the visitors who took the lead when a rebound fell to left winger Anees Younis, who made no mistake in slamming home.

Younis had the opportunity to double the lead three minutes later when he was felled in the penalty area but his resulting spot-kick lacked pace and was smartly held by keeper Joe Mash.

It must be said that despite the scoreline, Mash had a fine game and two further saves made sure that there was only the one goal in the first half.

After 33 minutes a clearance from Gardiner struck Clarkson as the striker closed him down and the ball fell to Andy Briggs. With the keeper stranded and the goal unguarded, Briggs had only a split second to shoot before being tackled and was unlucky to see his effort from 20 yards just clear the bar.

Carlton needed only three second-half minutes to make the score 2-0. A fine solo run by Scott Hargreaves saw the striker finish it off with a smart shot across Mash.

Four minutes later Hargreaves grabbed Carlton's third when he neatly deflected home from six yards a cross-shot from Younis.

Steeton did not throw in the towel and continued to battle hard in midfield but when they did get the ball forward, the attacks were continually thwarted by a more than competent Carlton back-line.

Steeton were unlucky to lose centre back Steve Pearson to injury before Hargreaves notched his hat-trick and his team's fourth after 72 minutes when his shot from the edge of the area went in off the post.

Three minutes later Steeton took the chance to pull a goal back when the referee awarded a penalty after a clumsy challenge by Nathan Kemp. Ben Richardson calmly slotted the ball home from the spot.

Play was suspended for a lengthy period after Mash was injured in a collision while diving on a loose ball. The goalkeeper was able to continue but his mobility was severely restricted and he was unable to prevent the visitors from twice adding to the scoreline.

On 80 minutes Scott Burns notched Carlton's fifth goal when he turned in a low cross from the right and three minutes later Liam Moore completed a disappointing day for the hosts by banging in a sixth.

Steeton manager Roy Mason said: "From my point of view it was a disappointing way to go out.

"We knew Carlton were a good side but we didn’t do ourselves justice in the second half. We more than held our own for the first 45 minutes but we didn’t perform anywhere near how we can in the second period.

"The pitch was heavy and didn’t help our passing game, but the conditions were the same for both sides.

"I think Carlton will go on and retain the trophy but we need to dust ourselves down and be ready for Littletown on Saturday."

Steeton: Mash, Mason, Scott, Pearson (Morgan), Rooke, Hird, Holden (Jeffrey), Smith, Clarkson (Holmes), Briggs, Richardson.

* Steeton Reserves scored ten without reply at Bradford FC in West Riding County Amateur League Division One. Returning striker Nicky McNally grabbed five, Andy Howland two, with Mark McGee, Joe Flaherty and Grieg Hudson scoring one each.