STEETON were comfortably beaten 4-1 by high-fliers Pilkington for the second time in 10 days last night as North West Counties League Division One North football returned to Marley Stadium for the first time since the end of October.

Despite an even start, the Chevrons never recovered from conceding two penalties in two first-half minutes, with Andy Briggs’ header just before the interval a mere consolation on a miserable evening for the hosts.

Similar to the reverse fixture at Ruskin Drive less than a fortnight ago, the sides were evenly matched in the opening exchanges, however, neither could create any clear-cut chances.

But with 24 minutes on the clock, the visitors were gifted a golden opportunity to open the scoring when Ben Kendall was penalised for a handball from a free-kick.

Experienced striker Phil Marsh made no mistake from the spot, sending Stuart Cross the wrong way with a powerful penalty into the bottom right corner.

From the kick-off, things went from bad to worse for Steeton when they conceded another spot-kick after a tangle in the box, Marsh again finding the back of the net to double his side’s lead.

Flowing with confidence, Pilkington were twice denied by Cross before adding a third just eight minutes later.

An Andrew Heal goal kick found top-scorer Callum Laird down the right-wing, who was given time and space to curl a strike from the edge of the box past the Steeton goalkeeper.

That goal saw the Chevrons respond, and they found themselves with a way back into the match on the stroke of half time.

Winning a corner, they overloaded the goal-line with players, with Briggs giving Heal no chance after rising highest to head home Toby Jeffrey’s pin-point delivery.

Shortly after the interval, Pilkington stopped any hopes of a Steeton comeback, extending their lead when a lofted pass found Deklan Hill, who expertly took the ball out of the air before lobbing Cross.

With chances few and far between for either side, Luke Baldwin looked to spark the match back into life, but his spectacular 25-yard strike came back off the underside of the crossbar before being scrambled away to safety.

Both sides offered little in a lacklustre finish to the match, however, a positive for the Chevrons came in the form of highly-rated Bradford City youngster Hamadi Susoho, who came off the bench to make his league debut and follow in the footsteps of teammate Jack Lynn.

The result leaves Steeton three points adrift of the relegation zone in 14th, while Pilkington sit fourth, with Roy Mason hoping to see a reaction from his side against Nelson at Marley Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

STEETON: Cross, Morgan (Susoho 68) Lynn, Kendall, White, Jeffrey, Farhan Subhani, McKiernon, Briggs (Holgate 71), Price, Baldwin (Khan 80). Unused substitute: Darkins.

PILKINGTON: Heal, Howard (Cottingham 76), Neill, Giglio, Curtis, Kenny, Quirk (Greene 61), Bate, Laird (Prescott 73), Hill, Marsh.