Steeton 3 Littletown 2

BEN Clarkson's brace helped fire Steeton into the semi-finals of the West Riding County Amateur League Cup following a twice postponed tie against the holders.

Spectators were fortunate to see an entertaining encounter with not only five goals but some fine play, plenty of goalmouth action and some good goalkeeping.

Steeton welcomed back, after a lay-off through injury, striker Clarkson who took just nine minutes to put the hosts into the lead after latching on to a fine through ball from Andy Holden and planting the ball past the visiting goalkeeper.

Two minutes after the goal a mix-up in the home penalty area led to a last-ditch tackle by Michael Rhodes which brought loud appeals for a penalty from Littletown players and staff but the referee allowed play to continue.

The visitors' strong efforts to find an equaliser were thwarted by equally strong defending on a day which saw not only skipper Rhodes but also fellow defenders Steve Pearson, Matty Wilson and goalkeeper Joe Mash in fine form.

Steeton went close to doubling the lead on three occasions but Andy Briggs' effort was blocked and, after intercepting a poor pass between Littletown defenders, Ben Richardson tried to chip the goalkeeper from distance but the ball just cleared the crossbar while Holden saw a shot fly just wide after fine work down the left from Elliot Scott.

A second goal did come a few minutes before the interval when Clarkson finished off a fine team effort which saw Holden slip a superb pass to Toby Jeffrey. He slid the ball to the striker allowing him to double his tally after beating the goalkeeper to the ball on the edge of the penalty area.

In the last seconds of the half a goalbound direct free-kick by Holden was superbly pushed around the post by the Littletown goalkeeper.

Early in the second half Steeton were grateful to goalkeeper Mash who dived acrobatically to his right to push aside a goalbound effort before reacting quickly to smother the follow-up strike.

Briggs twice went close to scoring Steeton's third; after being fed by Jeffrey his first effort cleared the crossbar and after a superb lay-off by Clarkson the second smashed against it and rebounded to safety.

In the 70th minute, 10 minutes after replacing Holden, substitute Jonah Smith fired a shot at goal. His attempt was somewhat scuffed and struck an opponent before nestling in the net to make the score 3-0. Four minutes later Littletown were awarded a direct free-kick after a foul by Tim Hird who had just replaced hard-working midfielder Josh Eastwood. Up stepped Joe Jagger to blast the ball home to notch up his 23rd goal of the season.

Four minutes later the visitors pulled back another goal when Jagger's strike partner Matthew Bugg slotted the ball past Mash to set up an exciting last few minutes.

To bolster the hosts' defence for the expected onslaught which would come as Littletown surged forward in search of an equaliser, Joe Park replaced Clarkson. Steeton held out and will meet the winner of the postponed quarter final between Route One Rovers and DRAM Community in the semi-final.