AN early Josh Brennan goal was enough to condemn a poor Steeton side, as they fell to a 1-0 defeat against Bacup Borough in Lancashire in the North West Counties League First Division North last night.

Steeton roared out of the blocks and had a fantastic chance to score inside the first minute after Mo Farhan Subhani drew a foul in a dangerous area, but Luke Baldwin fired the resulting free-kick both high and wide.

Bacup soon began to control the game and showed why they are unbeaten in the league so far.

They took the lead after five minutes when Fletcher Paley, making his first competitive start of the season in place of the injured Jordan Moorhouse, misjudged a low cross and allowed an unmarked Brennan to tap home at the far post.

The hosts started to dominate, with Alex Mellor almost scoring their second after 18 minutes when his cross took a wicked deflection. Fortunately Paley was on hand to claim the ball just under the crossbar.

Steeton tried to press for an equaliser going into half-time, but the home defence stood strong and easily thwarted the visitors’ attacks.

The Chevrons came out brighter in the second half, with Jake Townsend and Ben Wignall both forcing saves from Henry Turner in the Bacup net.

However, the hosts continued to be the better side and should have doubled their lead with 10 minutes to go after Kyle Siddle cut inside, but his fierce strike bounced back off the crossbar.

Tensions began to boil over, with scrappy challenges flying in from both sides and several free-kick decisions going the way of the visitors.

Townsend and Bradley Hancock were both booked for their part in a late altercation that resulted in a Steeton free-kick.

The visitors continued to press for a late equaliser but found themselves vulnerable on the counter-attack.

Bacup were awarded an injury-time penalty when Tyler Marsh brought down Siddle as the winger burst into the box.

But Paley made up for his earlier error with a fantastic save to deny Michael Gervin from the spot.

It proved academic though, as Bacup still came away with all three points.

First-team coach Stewart Airdrie was disappointed with the result and admitted that his side were second-best.

He said: “We lost the game in the first five minutes; they came out stronger and proved that they wanted it more.

“I feel some of our lads were hiding tonight and it can’t happen again.”

The Chevrons are next in action on Saturday afternoon away at promotion favourites AFC Liverpool (3pm kick-off).