Steeton 3

Ashton Town 3

STEETON were forced to take a share of the spoils after conceding a late equaliser in the Hallmark Security League Division One North.

Ashton caused Steeton problems throughout the game. While the home side’s goal was breached three times, there was no doubting the commitment, spirit and organisation of the young squad and their willingness to work hard for each other over the full 90 minutes.

The first half proved open, both sides creating chances with the opposition defence probably the busier of the two teams.

Steeton opened the scoring through Ben Clarkson in the sixth minute. The striker collected the ball on the edge of the box and did well to hold off two defenders before firing the ball high into the net from five yards out.

The goal saw the hosts grow in confidence, with the defence looking solid for a third game in a row, and for a period they restricted the opposition to long-range efforts. One such efforts saw Fletcher Paley pull off a great save, somehow getting a hand to a dipping shot struck ferociously from the edge of the box.

In recent games Toby Rawcliffe and James Grogan have started to develop their understanding in the middle of the park, working well together with and without the ball. As a result of their efforts, Aaron Davis, in for the injured Angus Maney, and Freddie Maddocks started to see a lot of ball on the flanks, and both and combined well with Briggs and Clarkson on a couple of occasions.

With five minutes of the half remaining, a brilliant individual goal undid Steeton’s defensive solidity.

Luke Edwards collected the ball just inside the Steeton half before dribbling past three home players and slotting the ball under the advancing Paley.

Ashton began the second half with renewed vigour, immediately putting the Steeton defence under pressure.

Early on Paley’s mistimed clearance was pounced upon and almost punished. Fortunately for the young keeper, the visitor’s striker was called narrowly offside.

In the 58th minute Steeton boss Roy Mason was forced to make a change, replacing James Grogan with Toby Jeffrey in the centre of the park.

Ashton also made changes, and within a few minutes were rewarded with another good individual goal to make it 2-1.

James Sigsworth, a lively presence down the left flank all game, cut across the edge of the box evading several challenges before firing a low shot beyond Paley into the bottom right corner.

Mason responded to Ashton’s lead by making a double substitution and switching again to three at the back. The move was a good one.

Within five crazy minutes, and against the run of play, the home side bagged an equaliser and then went ahead.

The first saw Briggs notch again with a crisp drive from inside the box, before Jeffrey put the Chevrons ahead, scoring superbly from the edge of the box with a dipping shot.

At 3-2 up and with only 10 minutes left on the clock, the home side were required to work hard defensively with Ashton going close to an equaliser on at least two occasions.

Steeton weathered the storm and started to look like they would see out the game for a valuable three points.

But this wouldn’t be Cougar Park without some last-minute drama. A speculative ball into the home area led to a defensive scramble, with the Rooke bringing down the opposition striker for a clear penalty. Anthony Shinks stepped up for the visitors and fired home to make it 3-3.

The equaliser set up a nervy last few minutes with neither side wanting to throw away the point.

In the 90th minute Joe Mason whipped a cross into the area from the right. It was met by Briggs, unmarked in the box, but his headed effort is wayward and sails over the bar.

Steeton: Paley, Mason, Scott, Rooke, Pearson, Grogan (Jeffrey), Maddocks (Holden), Rawcliffe, Briggs, Clarkson, Davis (Hollindrake). Sub not used: Morgan.