STEETON’S mid-season dip in form seems to be behind them as goals from Alistair Morgan, Andy Briggs, and Kayle Price helped them to a 4-1 win against struggling AFC Darwen in the NWCFL First Division North on Saturday.

The club are currently putting a lot of time and effort into their next match at home to title favourites Bury AFC on December 27, with ticket sales still being pushed for a game which is already virtually certain to smash the previous record attendance at Marley.

But they still had to focus on the task at hand at the weekend.

After Rio Wilson-Heyes was dismissed midway through the first half for Darwen, the Chevrons made their man advantage count to lead 1-0 at the interval, before Briggs’ brace and Price’s injury-time penalty wrapped up an important three points.

Despite lying 17th, Darwen started the better of the sides, forcing the Steeton defence into action to deny long-range strikes from Nathan Bond, ex-Chevrons midfielder Jake Townsend, and top-scorer Leon Creech inside the opening 15 minutes.

However, the game turned on its head when Wilson-Heyes was sent off with 24 minutes gone after appearing to kick out at Tom Robinson after a tackle.

Steeton took advantage almost immediately, opening the scoring five minutes later when an unmarked Morgan rose highest to head a Josh McKiernon free-kick past Stefan Holden.

Price had a strike ruled out for offside, while Briggs looked to have doubled the Chevrons’ lead 10 minutes before half-time with a well-timed volley, only for the officials to deem that the ball went out of play in the build-up.

Things went from bad to worse for the visitors when Creech was substituted soon after, and though his replacement Bobby Langford had the ball in the back of the net from an offside position, Steeton held on to a deserved lead at the interval.

The Chevrons came out of the blocks firing after the break and were unlucky not to extend their lead early on, with Robinson, Price, and Jahro Parchment forcing Holden into a series of saves.

Darwen withstood the constant Steeton pressure for much of the second half, which was led by Price and debutant Max Fenton down the flanks, and Mo Farhan Subhani in the middle.

But with 20 minutes to go, Farhan Subhani found Price down the left wing, who breezed past three defenders before squaring for strike partner Briggs to fire home at the far post to double his side’s lead.

Steeton continued to drive forward, and they were rewarded with a third goal with 10 minutes remaining.

Substitute Toby Jeffrey was given time and space to send a lofted pass to Briggs, who scored the pick of the goals after lobbing the onrushing Holden from the edge of the box.

The Chevrons were unlucky not to add a fourth when Morgan headed Jeffrey’s corner towards goal, only for the referee to miss both the ball crossing the line and a handball, instead awarding a corner.

However, despite their dominance, a clean sheet again proved elusive for the hosts, with Ryan Steele scoring in the 86th minute after his corner was missed by everyone in the box before finding the back of the net.

But it was Steeton who had the last word when Chris Lynch was sent off after bringing down Briggs in the box deep into injury time.

Price stepped up to take the spot-kick, sending the Darwen shot-stopper the wrong way to score his 22nd goal of a prolific season and round off a fantastic afternoon for the hosts, who sit 11th after this latest victory.