Steeton know only the side who finishes at the foot of the North West Counties Football League First Division North is guaranteed to go down.

But depending on how many amateur sides meet the criteria to jump up into the semi-professional ranks ahead of the 2024/25 season, second and third bottom are still at risk of relegation.

And Steeton are still not clear of danger yet, sitting just four points clear of 18th-placed Garstang.

And the Lancastrians, who occupy third-bottom spot, still have four games left to play, and Steeton only three.

Roy Mason’s Chevrons produced one of their better performances since the turn of the year at Marley on Saturday, but eventually succumbed to a 4-2 home defeat against play-off chasing neighbours Ilkley Town.

The visitors started brightest, hitting the post inside the first 10 minutes, before Steeton had a chance of their own, only for Josh McKiernon to lift his effort over the bar from Jack Lynn’s floated long ball.

Ilkley struck first after a quarter-of-an-hour, as a slip in the home defence allowed Blake Wood in to slot the ball home.

Steeton pulled level after 27 minutes, when Toby Jeffrey found Luke Baldwin, who found space down the left then cracked a shot into the bottom corner.

Another defensive error from the home side looked to have gifted Ilkley their lead back, only for a fine goal line clearance from Alfie Gibbon to save the day.

The sides went into the break level, before Steeton had a double chance early in the second half, despite being temporarily down to 10 men as Lynn was being treated on the sidelines for an injury.

First, Jake Townsend’s effort from McKiernon’s cross was turned away by Ilkley stopper, and ex-Steeton man, Jordan Moorhouse.

Craven Herald: Jake Townsend went close to giving Steeton the lead early in the second half, before Ilkley overpowered their hosts late on.Jake Townsend went close to giving Steeton the lead early in the second half, before Ilkley overpowered their hosts late on. (Image: Ian Meachin.)

Then, moments later, McKiernon found space for a shot of his own but fired his strike well over the crossbar.

Ilkley went close midway through the second half when they had an effort that flashed just wide and Steeton nearly gifted them the lead after a defensive mix-up saw keeper James Catlow inadvertently lobbed by his own.

The ball trickled just wide, but he home side’s relief was short-lived as Ilkley retook the lead on 73 minutes, seconds after McKiernon had lifted a good chance over the crossbar from the edge of visitors’ box.

The Chevrons were unlucky, as a badly-miscued shot from an Ilkley man fell perfectly for his team-mate Nathan Hunt, who gleefully slotted the ball home.

And when prolific visiting striker Kevin Gonzalez-Mele turned home a cross from the left with 10 minutes to go, the game looked to be over.

Sure enough, Alfie Dean soon netted a fourth for Ilkley to wrap up a vital three points for them, though Steeton did at least have the last word.

The away side conceded a penalty after some overly-aggressive defending from a Steeton corner.

And Baldwin grabbed his second goal of the game from the spot, making it a fine individual afternoon for him, if not for his team.

Steeton visit Garstang in a huge game this Saturday, with the former knowing a win virtually guarantees their survival in the division.