STEETON moved one step closer to survival after extending their unbeaten run to three games with a 1-1 draw against Atherton Laburnum Rovers at Cougar Park, in the North West Counties Division One North.

In a first half that lacked any real quality, the home side dominated play and created plenty of chances but could not find the finishing touch.

James Ngoe’s looping effort required a fingertip save from Ryan Graeme in the Atherton net, with Kayle Price and Toby Jeffrey also coming close as the hosts continued to pile on the pressure.

The visitors created little of note before the break, leaving Danny Thorpe largely untroubled, but for a couple of routine saves.

The last action of the half saw Dominic Barnes cautioned for a nasty challenge on the edge of the box on the stroke of half time, however, the hosts could not take advantage, with the resulting free-kick fired into the wall.

After the break, the Chevrons picked up where they left off, winning a penalty when Ngoe was brought down by Graeme in the box.

Ben Clarkson duly dispatched the spot-kick, firing a powerful shot into the bottom corner.

Atherton improved after conceding, coming close to equalising minutes later, only for Nathan Strong to produce the miss of the match when he hit the post with the Steeton goal left gaping.

Minutes after setting up a fantastic opportunity for their second, Steeton lost skipper Tim Hird to a hamstring injury in the 69th minute.

Striker Immanuel Kinuthia was handed his debut after signing from RIASA on Friday, as the hosts pushed for a second goal.

Price and Jeffrey once again linked up down the right, with Graeme producing a fine double save to stop Steeton extending their lead.

That save proved instrumental, with a last-minute Atherton equaliser denying Steeton an important three points.

The home defence gifted Nathan Strong space in the box, and he made no mistake, slotting a low drive into the bottom corner and out of the reach of Thorpe.

Steeton manager Roy Mason was left deflated with the result as he felt like it was two points dropped for his side.

He said: “I think we’ve come back in there and it feels like we’ve been beaten instead of getting a point.

“I think we’ve come a long way in our last three games and we’re really disappointed.

“We were on a losing streak not so long back, we’re now unbeaten in three so we are putting a bit of a run together where we’re picking up points from every game.”

The 20th-placed side are now level on points with fellow strugglers Garstang, although Steeton have played three games more, and travel to playoff pushing Holker Old Boys this Saturday.

“The mood in the camp is really good. It’s that of disappointment today, but the mood in the camp is good now.

“I think there’s a bit of confidence now coming within the players that we can get something out of games.

“We’ll get up there, put a side together, and hopefully we can continue the unbeaten run.”

Steeton: Thorpe, Marsh, Scott, White, Maddocks, Hird © (Kinuthia 69), Jeffrey, Preston, Price (Baldwin 90+2), Clarkson, Ngoe. Unused substitutes: Nimi, Carter

Atherton LR: Graeme, Tomlinson, Grundy ©, Russell, Lawrence, Robinson, Strong, Boydell, Comber, Barnes (Owolabi 87), Collins-Clegan (Jeffs 70). Unused substitute: Havern