STEETON were left frustrated as they let slip a two-goal lead at home to high-flying Shelley in the North West Counties Division One North on Saturday to draw 3-3.

It was always going to be a tough match for Roy Mason’s men. Shelley are the division’s in-form side and pushing for promotion, while Steeton remain rock-bottom after losing at Emley last week.

Cougar Park was bathed in the winter sunshine as the youthful home side started strongly. After 11 minutes, Kayle Price raced on to a long ball, before firing a cross towards Toby Jeffrey, who was only denied by an excellent block from a defender.

The home side continued to have the better of the ball, taking a deserved lead after a quarter of an hour. Price won a corner down the left, which was fired in by Jeffrey for Freddie Maddocks to easily beat his man and power in a header at the far post.

Steeton made it two from the restart, with Luke Baldwin racing down the left flank before crossing to Jeffrey, who slotted home from close range. The Chevrons appeared to be cruising towards an invaluable three points.

Shelley pulled one back midway through the half. New signing Antony Brown beat the offside trap and fired into the far corner despite the best efforts of goalkeeper Fletcher Paley, back in the starting line-up for the first time since August.

The home side restored their two-goal lead after the break, scoring a third after 50 minutes. Neat build-up play down the flank gave Harrison Blackwell space in the box to turn his man, before he fired into the bottom left corner to notch his first goal for the club.

Trailing 3-1, the visitors threw caution to the wind, bringing on their remaining substitutes to get back into the game.

It paid off soon after, with Steeton switching off from a corner and allowing Craig Billington’s header to land at the feet of Alex O’Keefe, who poked the ball home from close range.

Shelley pushed for an equaliser and were rewarded with a spectacular, if slightly fortunate, finish in the 81st minute.

Carlton Pownall’s free-kick from the sideline was helped on its way by the wind, as it sailed over Paley and into the top corner.

The goal rocked the home side and for the following few minutes, Shelley piled on the pressure and came close to grabbing a winner.

Steeton weathered the storm and regained an element of control as the game became a little feisty in the closing minutes.

There were mixed feelings at full-time but the coaching staff should be pleased with the effort and application on show.

Despite the disappointing scoreline, there were positives to carry forward and Steeton will hope to build on those in Wednesday’s rearranged home fixture against Daisy Hill (weather permitting).