Steeton AFC 2 v 1 Ashton Town (North West Counties – Division One North)
The North West Counties Football League Groundhoppers weekend rolled into Marley Stadium on Sunday morning as Steeton AFC entertained Ashton Town in a North West Counties Division One (North) fixture. It proved to be an excellent day for Steeton AFC both on and off the pitch, with the club breaking its record attendance as 479 supporters attended the game, the previous record was 187 against Darwen Football Club.
Ashton Town got the match underway on a sunny but cold Sunday morning, the opening ten minutes were fairly even with both sides trying to take control of the match. This lead to both sides making mistakes giving the ball away, which in turn lead to some end to end football with neither side managing to get a shot on target.
The only real effort in the opening ten minutes fell to the home side on four minutes, when following a succession of corners Andrew Briggs managed to connect with a cross at the back post, but the striker could only guide his header wide of the post.
The visitors took the lead on fifteen minutes, when Aidan Marshall-King caught the home defence napping before crossing the ball to Deklan Hill on the edge of the box, the former Pilkington striker lobbed the ball over the stranded Cameron Perron into the goal to make the score 0-1.
Ashton Town then created two efforts in a minute, the first was more of a half chance as Deklan Hill chased a long ball over the Steeton defence, but he was just beaten to the ball by Cameron Perron who cleared up field otherwise the visitors would have doubled their lead. The second effort fell to Hill once again following a Aidan Marshall-King cross into the area but his shot was well blocked by Morgan.
On twenty-two minutes, Steeton went close to drawing level when Luke Baldwin surges forward down the right wing before winning a corner. The resulting corner once again fell to Andrew Briggs at the far post but he couldn’t scramble the ball over the line and it was cleared to safety.
Just two minutes later, the home side won a free-kick on the right-hand side of the area which was taken by Luke Baldwin. He whipped the free-kick into the near post, however Cookson in the visitors goal was more than equal to his his effort leaving the score 0-1.
Aidan Marshall-King the went close for the visitors with an outstanding curling shot from the edge of the Steeton area, which forced goalkeeper Cameron Perron into an excellent save tipping the ball around the post for a corner. The resulting corner came to nothing a was cleared to safety by Jerry White.
Steeton AFC levelled the score on thirty-three minutes, when Toby Jeffery collected the ball on the edge of the Ashton area, before curling an absolute screamer into the top right hand corner of the goal past Cookson who could only stand and watch as the flow passed him into the goal to make it 1-1.
On thirty-six minutes, Toby Jeffery intercepts the ball down the right wing before setting the ball for Jordan Townend who crossed the ball into the visitors area. The cross was acrobatically met by Luke Baldwin but his went just wide of Cookson post.
Ashton Town should have been reduced to ten men on forty-three minutes, when Aidan Marshall-King went straight through the back of Jack Lynn with a two footed challenge. However, the referee made the decision just to speak to the Ashton number eleven and he didn’t even book the player, his failure to act on the incident is what caused all of the issues for the referee in the second-half, as the visiting players continued to make bad fouls knowing they would not be punished by a weak referee.
Steeton AFC had one final effort of the half, as Kayle Price hit a low shot to the near post on forty-five minutes, the shot was well saved by Cookson in the Ashton Town goal to level the half-time score 1-1.
The first effort of the second-half came on fifty-three minutes, when the visitors should have taken the lead through George Wyatt, the central defender was left unmarked at the far post and got on the end of a corner only to see his header come back off the crossbar.
On fifty-four minutes, the home side should have taken the lead as Kayle Price broke into the area only to see his shot beat Cookson and bounce back off the inside of the post before being cleared to safety. A few moments later Briggs won a corner, which found Morgan unmarked in the area but he couldn’t keep his header on target.
Just after the hour mark, Kayle Price outpaced the Ashton Town defence before cutting into the area and firing a shot towards goal, which was well saved by Cookson in the Ashton Town goal to leave the score 1-1.
On seventy minutes, yet another late tackle by an Ashton Tow player left Steeton full-back Jack Lynn injury on the touchline. Despite receiving treatment for over five minutes on his ankle, Lynn had to be carried off the pitch injured and replaced by Callum Buttle.
The visitors, went close to adding a second goal on seventy-five minutes when Deklan Hill got clear of the defence before taking a shot at goal, Steeton goalkeeper Cameron Perron got down well to his left and make an excellent save and keep the score at 1-1.
Having let a number of dangerous tackles go during the match the referee final lost control of the game on seventy-seven minutes, when Steeton midfielder Jordan Townend pulled back visiting defender Ethan Van-Aston in his own half. The defender took matters into his own hands and reacted by elbowing Townend in the face giving the referee no option but to issue a straight red card, however this would not have happened if the referee had been stronger earlier in the game.
The home side took the lead on eighty-four minutes, as Jordan Townend collected the ball thirty yards from goal, before looking up and striking an unstoppable shot passed Cookson into the top right-hand corner of the goal leaving the goalkeeper with no chance.
On eighty-nine minutes, the visitors should have been reduced to nine men when Noah Robson stamped on Andrew Briggs whilst the striker down following a tangle of legs on the halfway line, Briggs reacted by pushing Robson to the ground and both players received the yellow card.
Just two minutes later, as the game entered injury time the experienced striker vented his frustrations with a late challenge on an Ashton Town defender, which left the referee no option but to show him a second yellow card and send Andrew Briggs to the dressing room just before the final whistle. Steeton held on during injury time to win the match 2-1.
After picking up three valuable points the “Chevrons” have moved seven points clear of the relegation zone, as the club look forward to the longest away trip of the season, when they travel to Cleator Moor Football Club this weekend.
Steeton AFC – Perron, Jeffrey, Lynn, Morgan, White, Townend, Farhan-Subhani, McKiernon, Briggs, Price, Baldwin (Subs) Darkins, Gregson, Buttle, Snowden, Payne
Ashton Town – Cookson, Lownsbrough, Van-Ashton, Noonan, Keenan, Wyatt, Robson, C.Hill, Magee, D.Hill, Marshall-King (Subs) Edgerton, Purdham, Wright, Turkington, Anderson
Goals – (Steeton) Jeffrey (33), Townend (84) (Ashton Town) D.Hill (15)
Attendance – 479