STEETON boss Roy Mason has issued a goalscoring challenge to his midfielders.

The Chevrons have enjoyed some good results since an awful opening day loss in the NWCFL First Division North against Atherton LR and sit sixth in the table after nine games.

But they have only scored 12 goals, after the departures of prolific duo Kayle Price and Andy Briggs in successive summers, and have struggled to finish teams off despite dominating matches.

Mason said: “We were a bit lucky to have Andy and Kayle, who got about 35 goals each in their final seasons.

“But others didn’t chip in, and you can’t just rely on one player all the time.

“I’ve challenged our midfielders to hit double figures and Jake Townsend has hit four already.

“I’ve spoken to Josh McKiernon about the importance of him scoring more, and he hit his first of the season on Monday.

“They have to contribute, not just our forwards, as we all want a 30-goal per season striker but they’re so hard to come by.”

Steeton have only conceded 10 in the league though, and just six since the opening day, with Mason reflecting: “You have those results sometimes like we did against Atherton, where you just can’t put your finger on where it all went wrong.

“But I said before the game that this season was all about reacting to adversity like that and we’ve bounced back really well.

“I’m a bit disappointed we’ve lost some points, with a couple of draws we should have turned into wins, but we’ve lost those in the past.

“But the lads played 10 games in August, and I’ve been happy with how it’s gone.

“I couldn’t have asked for much more from them, as some were running on empty by the end, and we’ve not even been able to train properly because of the schedule, whereas now we’ve just got weekend games for a while.”

There are plenty of new signings at Marley to go alongside familiar faces from previous seasons, and Mason said: “If you look at how the new lads have settled, it’s not like they’ve just joined.

“The likes of (ex-Silsden captain) Josh Kaine, it feels as if they’ve been around forever.

“Myself and (fellow coach) Stewart Airdrie will do background checks on each player before we sign them, as we want to make sure their personality and character fits in with the ethos of the club.”

Craven Herald: Roy Mason, on the right alongside Steeton chairman Pete Jeffrey, will not bring in players on ability alone.Roy Mason, on the right alongside Steeton chairman Pete Jeffrey, will not bring in players on ability alone. (Image: Ian Meachin.)

One thing Mason will want to eradicate from the club is ill-discipline, as a last-gasp penalty dumped Steeton out of the FA Vase on Saturday, before a late penalty and then red card for keeper James Catlow left them clinging on for a 2-1 league win over South Liverpool on Monday.

Mason confirmed key player Catlow would be available for Steeton’s away league game at Shelley on Saturday, but not for the following weekend at home to Ashton Athletic, where he will be looking for an emergency replacement.

The Chevrons boss said: “Referees are clamping down on timewasting and delays this season, and both of James’ cards were for that, so it was a silly second yellow.

“We were coasting and should have been out of sight but then we had four minutes of injury time with no goalie and they threw the kitchen sink at us.

“I’ve spoken to the lads and said we need to be more disciplined to be successful.

“But we do have a lot of young players and it is a learning curve for them.”

Another learning curve for the squad is having to swallow the bitter pill of defeat, like against Boldon in the FA Vase, where they were knocked out by a penalty in the 10th minute of added time.

Mason said: “We’ve been knocked out of the Vase on penalties in the previous three seasons, and this time to a penalty in the 100th minute.

“We shouldn’t have been in that situation, because we’d had two or three good chances to win it.

“We need to be more ruthless and we had so much territory, but it’s only goals that matter.

“It was heartbreaking to go out like that but we’re not feeling sorry for ourselves.

“The league is our priority and really, the three points against South Liverpool mattered more than the result on Saturday.”