Steeton AFC 1 v 0 AFC Blackpool (North West Counties Division One North)
Steeton are one of the seven new clubs in the North West Counties First Division North having moved up from the West Riding County Amateur League Premier Division where they finished 3rd last season. The clubs Summerhall Lane ground, in the small village of Steeton did not meet the requirements of the league, so the club is currently sharing the 7,800 capacity Cougar Park, home of Rugby League side Keighley Cougars.
Image – By John Chapman
Lancashire rivals AFC Blackpool were the first North West Counties side to visit Cougar Park for a league match, along with a large number of new supports for the home side so expectations were high. The crowd didn’t have to wait long as Steeton took the lead after just four minutes, a corner was whipped into the box for Andy Briggs to head powerfully home for six yards giving Alex Cameron in the visitors goal no chance.
Image – By John Chapman
After that early setback AFC Blackpool had numerous chances, but just failed to convert them, the first chance came on twelve minutes but Joe Mason is on hand to clear the ball, from the following throw-in Carnan Dawson hit a volley over Stevens-Neale’s crossbar.
Just three minutes later, an excellent ball from midfield set AFC Blackpool clear of the defence, but Stevie Pearson was alert and got back to make an inch-perfect tackle. The visitors also went close with a free-kick on twenty-five minutes which was well held by Alfie Stevens-Neale in the Steeton goal.
Steeton should have extended their lead on thirty-three minutes as Andy Briggs got clear of Martin Baird before prodding the ball round the on-coming Alex Cameron, the ball rolled just wide of the right-hand post for a goal kick before Ben Clarkson could catch it.
On thirty-five minutes, the visitors should have scored following an excellent right wing cross which Ben Duffield could only head Stevens-Neale’s crossbar despite being only a few yards from the goal line.
The home side then had three efforts at goal in the final five minutes of the half, the first following an excellent ball from Elliot Scott was headed down to Toby Rawcliffe and his well-struck volley went just wide of Alex Cameron’s post.
Just a minute later, another delicious cross by Scott aimed for Aaron Hollindrake was headed down and Angus Maney lays the ball off to Andy Briggs, by the goalscorer clears the Terry Hollindrake stand with his shot.
A minute before the interval, the home side were appealing for a spot kick as striker Ben Clarkson collected the ball before going passed two players in the area only to be tripped by the last defender, however referee Lee Corns waved away the appeals to leave the half-time score 1-0.
AFC Blackpool started the second-half the quicker of the two sides and just three minutes into the half tested the home keeper when captain Danny Pickerings shot when just wide of Alfie Stevens-Neale’s post. Two minutes later Stevens-Neale rushes out of his area and is beaten to the ball, the shot however is clear away by Stephen Pearson at the foot of the near post to advert the danger.
The game was stopped for about five minutes on fifty-five minutes whilst Angus Maney received some treatment following a nasty clash of heads, the Chevrons midfielder was substituted and went off to Airedale Hospital for further checks and stitches.
AFC Blackpool continued to look for the equaliser another corner and a header went over the bar, whilst Carnan Dawson was again unlucky from a free kick in the final ten minutes. Duffield tried an acrobatic attempt on goal but the ball skewed off his foot. As AFC Blackpool piled forward Steeton defender Steve Pearson got another vital touch to a ball turning it over the bar for another corner.
With four minutes remaining James Grogan whipped in a powerful cross for the home side, but no-one could convert. Then as the full time whistle approached Steeton keeper Alfie Stevens-Neale held the ball from another shot to maintain his clean sheet.
In added time, from the last corner of the game the ball was headed off the line just as it looked like AFC Blackpool were finally going to grab a late equaliser. But Steeton AFC held on for all three points in what was an excellent for the club in their new home.
Image – By Steve Brown (@stevebrown442)
Speaking after the match to the media manager Roy Mason said, “It was a great victory and another three points, it was important that we made a good first impression to all the new supporters. We had to dig in deep at times but I thought we defended very well again and limited Blackpool to long range efforts. It was a great day all round for the club and gives us something more to build on.”
Steeton AFC – Stevens-Neale, Mason, Scott, Morgan, Pearson, Hird, Briggs, Rawcliffe, Hollindrake, Clarkson, Maney (Subs) Flaherty, Driscoll, Grogan, Walker, Hudson
AFC Blackpool – Cameron, Baird, Betteridge, Caunce, Mottram, Pickering, Bishop, Fishwick, Duffield, Williams, Dawson (Subs) Taylor, Broadstock, Bradley, Dickson, Gallatly
Goals – (Steeton) Briggs (5)
Attendance – 177