Chadderton 1

Steeton 0

A 40TH-MINUTE goal from Jack Ward was enough to give home side Chadderton the points in a fiercely-fought battle in Hallmark Security League Division One North.

Captain Tim Hird returned to action for Steeton after two months on the injured list and was straight into the thick of it, with a series of full-blooded tackles.

The referee was struggling to maintain order as the game threatened to boil over with three yellow cards in the first 15 minutes.

Hostilities paused for some football to break out. The first wayward shots of the game coming from Steven Affleck on 18 minutes, blasting into orbit, and Aaron Hollindrake on 24, very wide.

Midfielder Dillan O’Connor had the first credible chance, being well played through but shooting wide.

Steeton’s new three-man defence was working well but was breached with what proved to be the winning goal on 40 minutes.

Good play by Oumar Camara set up Sam Riley at inside-right, he looked to shoot before crossing to Jack Ward on the left side to slot home.

A further chance for Chadderton ended the half, but Liam Chambers failed to connect after more good work from Riley.

The second-half started with Steeton on the attack, Andy Holden forcing Hadlow to make his first proper save of the game, followed shortly afterwards by Toby Rawcliffe firing over the bar from the edge of the penalty box.

The key flashpoint arrived on 65 minutes when Hird was dismissed for a second yellow card, and nearly got worse when Chadderton won a penalty 10 minutes later after Camara was fouled, but the striker’s penalty was well saved by Fletch Paley, diving to his right.

Camara was causing Steeton problems on the break, beating the keeper with his next effort, but Freddie Maddocks cleared off the line.

The final 15 minutes saw the Chevrons pushing forward but a goal proved elusive with Hadlow safely collecting a series of crosses, and Grogan heading to him from close-range in added time.

Steeton battled well in a tough, defensive game with the 3-5-2 formation looking solid. However, they unfortunately couldn’t conjure up the spark to break through and take the point they probably deserved.

Chadderton: Jordan Hadlow, Steven Affleck, Joseph Richards, Jordan Butterworth, Devon Matthews, Nathan Tayo, Sam Riley, Dillan O’Connor, Oumar Camara, Liam Chambers, Jack Ward.

Steeton: Fletcher Paley, Freddie Maddocks, Tim Hird, Sam Rooke (Alistair Morgan 85), Steve Pearson, James Grogan, Toby Jeffrey, Toby Rawcliffe (Luke Baldwin 78), Aaron Hollindrake (Casey Dowthwaite 85), Ben Clarkson, Andy Holden.

Steeton Reserves 1

Route One Rovers 1

As is always the case, Esholt-based club Route One Rovers proved to be stern opposition on their visit to Summerhill Lane.

Their slick, fast-paced and entertaining passing game created many a chance in the first half but Steeton’s defensive line of Joe Flaherty, Greig Hudson and Duncan Steel stood up well and offered sound protection to goalkeeper Joe Greenwood, who kept his goal intact throughout the half.

The hosts created a few chances but the Rovers defence, well marshalled by Jonathan Mwembie, stood firm.

Just as it looked as if the first period would be scoreless Harrison Houldsworth found Jack Richmond who made no mistake in ramming the ball home just seconds before the referee blew for half-time.

The second-half followed much the same pattern but as time went on the visitors pressed forward with increased urgency and the deserved equaliser came from a long-distance effort in the 75th minute.

The last 15 minutes became somewhat scrappy and the referee had to speak to a number of players about their conduct.

A draw seemed a fair result and left the hosts in sixth position in the table with 29 points from 17 games: Rovers are one place below with 24 points from 17 games.