STEETON are marooned in mid-table in the North West Counties Football League First Division North, their play-off dreams slipping away after a 3-1 defeat at Darwen.

They took the lead through Jake Townsend at the start of the second half and had their chances, but ultimately a stirring comeback from the hosts condemned the Chevrons to a seventh defeat in their last nine games in all competitions.

In an even first hald, Darwen started the brightest, sending a free header wide and forcing Steeton keeper James Catlow to tip a free-kick over the bar.

But the Chevrons hit back, George Gomersall inadvertently kneeing an effort off the post before the same player stung the palms of home goalkeeper Zachary Biggs from long range.

In between those chances, Catlow made a good save after a direct Darwen move, before his opposite number Biggs, on debut, made a stunning stop to deny Jake Townsend on the half-hour mark.

James Edgley almost put Steeton in front following a corner, before his team-mate Josh McKiernon crashed a long-range effort off the crossbar.

That was the final chance of the first half, but Steeton roared out of the blocks after the break.

Townsend gave them the lead on 47 minutes, when he cut inside from the wing and struck his shot across the keeper to break the deadlock.

Darwen soon levelled though, as Steeton could only half clear a cross, the ball falling to Kit Lloyd to ram home the equaliser.

The hosts began to get on top thereafter, as they produced a cross that inadvertently struck the crossbar before sending a free header off target.

Steeton could have gone back in front, as Rory Langdon had two great headed chances, but he put one just over and the other just wide.

At the other end, Edgley made a couple of superb interventions to keep Darwen out, but he was powerless to stop them taking the lead with 10 minutes to go.

A messy goal was credited to Leon Creech, despite suspicions a Steeton player got the last touch.

And Darwen sealed the victory late on, as Biggs’ punch launched a counter-attack for the hosts, which ended with Akim Samms firing a sensational strike beyond Catlow and into the net.

Gomersall fired a late chance wide, as Steeton failed to even grab a consolation goal to take back to West Yorkshire.

The Chevrons now sit eight points outside of the play-offs in 11th and could do with a much-needed win at 13th-placed Ashton Athletic this coming Saturday.