STEETON manager Roy Mason was left frustrated by key decisions as Steeton lost out to high-flying Holker Old Boys in the North West Counties Division One North.

The game was much closer than the 3-1 scoreline suggests, with a Jamie Hodgson stunner the only thing separating the sides at the end of a controversial first half that left many inside Marley Stadium wondering how the Chevrons had not been awarded at least one penalty.

Things went from bad to worse for the hosts after the interval, with Farryl Foster’s tap-in doubling Holker’s lead before Jahro Parchment was sent off for a mistimed tackle with 25 minutes remaining.

There was still time for Will McGladdery to add a third for the visitors with an inch-perfect free-kick, but Luke Baldwin’s injury-time consolation came far too late for the hosts to mount a comeback.

Holker came out of the blocks firing and came close to opening the scoring inside the first minute, but a long-range strike fizzed narrowly wide of Stuart Cross’ right-hand post.

Despite the early scare, Steeton soon began to find their feet, with Andy Briggs denied by Wyll Stanway, and tricky winger Parchment proving a handful for the visitors’ defence.

At the other end of the pitch, Haken McCracken fired a cross narrowly wide, whilst Ben Kendall and Omar Anjum were on hand to clear anything that came their way.

Midway through the half, Anjum won the ball before starting a Steeton counter from which Parchment was tripped in the box, but referee Lee Harding waved away the appeals from the men in green.

Jack Lynn and Kayle Price both forced saves from Stanway, but it was Holker who broke the deadlock in the 35th minute, Hodgson driving forward before unleashing a thunderous 25-yard strike through a sea of bodies and into the bottom corner.

Minutes later, the Chevrons were denied a penalty for a second time when Stanway collided with Parchment inside the box, Harding instead ruling a free-kick to the visitors, who maintained their slender lead at the interval.

The sides remained evenly matched in the opening exchanges of the second half, with Cross called into action to deny Hodgson a second, whilst Briggs and Price forced Stanway into a series of saves.

However, Holker doubled their advantage in the 66th minute after winning a free-kick on the edge of the box, McCracken’s strike forcing a fantastic save from Cross before Foster reacted quickest to power the loose ball into the back of the net.

Just two minutes later, Steeton’s afternoon went from bad to worse when Parchment was shown a red card after a 50-50 challenge with Hodgson down the right wing as the win slipped further from their grasp.

With 12 minutes remaining, Holker made their man advantage count, adding a third after a foul on the edge of the box, with McGladdery bending the resulting free-kick over the wall and into the roof of the net.

The only positive for Mason’s side came in the first minute of injury time when Baldwin, making his first appearance in over a month after injury, unleashed a powerful long-range strike that deflected off Josh McKiernon into the back of the net to reduce the arrears.