Steeton 0

Nelson 1

IT wasn't quite the Christmas cracker that was hoped for at Cougar Park as Roy Mason's side returned to action on Boxing Day, with a solitary goal separating Steeton and Nelson as the visitors ran out as 1-0 winners.

In a game which was lacking entertainment and event throughout, a bright start seemed an age ago, but both sides started off playing some good football, with Joe Mason required to snuff out an early attack for the hosts.

Alfie Stevens-Neale was also required in the Steeton goal, a rare error by Sam Rooke, who was solid thereafter, let in the Nelson striker who's shot from point-blank range was well smothered by the goalkeeper.

Over a quarter of an hour in, Steeton had half-hearted penalty claims waved away as Andy Briggs was seemingly caught, and then the visiting right-back saw his name up in lights from 20 yards, but his effort was wayward.

The first half was largely a battle, with the defensive players coming out on top, Elliot Scott on one occasion making a great recovery block to prevent anything further from a Nelson attack.

Then, minutes before half-time, Ben Clarkson and Briggs combined for the first notable time, the former heading into the path of the latter, who was thwarted by a magnificent block as the game remained goalless.

The second-half began with Toby Jeffrey taking aim but striking over, with option available to him, but it was a feature of the game as both 'keepers remained largely untested.

Jeffrey and Briggs combined minutes later and it was the striker who forced the corner, his swivel-and-shot rebounded off the defender and out for a corner, which came to nothing.

Then, Nelson came forward and a snapshot from the edge of the box was taking, Stevens-Neale was rooted and the ball nestled in the corner, sparking celebrations amongst the Nelson travelling supporters and officials.

However, despite Toby Rawcliffe and captain Tim Hird looking to take control of the game, it didn't happen, Rawcliffe was his usual busy self, often trying to make space and angles for others, while Hird was typically industrious in the middle. Only an Angus Maney booking was noteworthy, his typical hard-work there for all to see.

There was a goal-mouth scramble which almost saw Steeton go two down, but the ball dropped past the post of Stevens-Neale and it remained just the one.

Mason looked to change it from the bench, with Aaron Davis and Aaron Hollindrake being introduced for Joe Mason and Ben Clarkson, meaning a change in formation, with Scott joining Rooke and Alistair Morgan in defence.

Despite some good play from both sides, there was no real chances, and even the fresh legs of Freddie Maddocks didn't help Steeton get onto the front foot.

Steeton: Stevens-Neale, Mason (Davis 65), Scott (Maddocks 80), Morgan, Rooke, Hird (c), Jeffrey, Rawcliffe, Briggs, Clarkson (Hollindrake 65), Maney. Sub not used: Tidswell