STEETON staged a second-half fightback to earn a 1-1 draw at home to fellow strugglers St Helens Town in the North West Counties Division One North on Saturday.

The hosts were trailing inside five minutes after Oghenetega Okeregha’s close-range strike and were lucky to not be further behind after what Manager Roy Mason labelled an “unacceptable” first half.

Though they improved dramatically after the interval, equalising in the 56th minute through a Hal McHugh own goal, the Chevrons were made to rue their missed chances and could not find a winning goal.

Steeton were without captain Jerry White, who was serving the first of a three-match ban, and their defensive frailties showed from the outset.

Both Jamie Apperley and Neil Weaver were denied in quick succession before Okeregha opened the scoring in the fifth minute, an enticing through ball finding the striker one-on-one with George Bristol, who got a hand to the ball but could not stop it from bouncing into the back of the net.

However, the Chevrons came close to an immediate equaliser, Ben Wignall beating Jesse Robinson for pace down the right before flashing narrowly wide of the far post.

The visitors then began to dominate, Weaver denied by blocks from Omar Anjum and Alistair Morgan, before Okeregha was flagged for offside after forcing a good save from Bristol.

With half an hour on the clock, Steeton came close to an unlikely leveller when Jake Townsend’s corner was headed onto the crossbar by a St Helens defender, but the visitors were able to clear.

Both sides struggled to maintain possession as the half wore on, with things becoming particularly heated between Jamie Tyrer and Tyler Marsh, who were both warned by referee Chris Cooper-Tonge.

The Chevrons made a lively start to the second half, with Josh McKiernon and Wignall both forcing Wolland into saves, however, the visiting goalkeeper was left helpless when McHugh headed a Townsend corner into his own net to level the scores.

Steeton thought they had a second just minutes later, only for McKiernon’s corner to cannon off the crossbar, before being cleared by the St Helens defence.

The introduction of Bradford City teenager Jack Lynn only aided the hosts’ charge, the energetic midfielder finding space down the right-wing to set up Andy Briggs, who saw his diving header force an outstanding save from Wolland in the St Helens net.

Midway through the half, a clash of heads saw Morgan leave the pitch injured, with the resulting free-kick seeing Lynn caught by a visiting defender in the box, but Cooper-Tonge waved away the appeals from the men in green.

St Helens thought they had scored the winner with four minutes remaining after Apperley rounded Bristol before slotting into an empty net, but a late offside flag spared Steeton from conceding a late goal for the third consecutive match.

As the rain began to fall, the hosts almost completed the turnaround in the most bizarre of circumstances in injury time, Wolland fumbling the ball after falling into the net, however it was judged not to have crossed the line.

Steeton are next in action against promotion-chasing AFC Blackpool at Marley Stadium on Saturday (3 pm kick-off), before playing local rivals Campion on Bank Holiday Monday (3 pm kick-off).

STEETON: Bristol, Maddocks, Marsh, Anjum, Morgan (Parker-Wells 72), Preston (Lynn 66), Farhan Subhani, McKiernon, Wignall © (Kinuthia 82), Briggs, Townsend.

Unused substitutes: Moorhouse

ST HELENS TOWN: Wolland, Robinson ©, De-Andrade, Atkinson, Colford, McHugh, Apperley, Clegg, Okeregha (Holt 73), Weaver, Tyrer (Uppal 88).

Unused substitutes: Platt, McDaid