Steeton’s penultimate game of the season saw them fall to defeat in the most controversial of circumstances to North West Counties Football League First Division North play-off hopefuls Euxton Villa.

In a game overshadowed by two controversial refereeing decisions against the Chevrons, which left manager Roy Mason livid, the visitors from West Yorkshire left feeling robbed of a point.

And a point is what they deserved after they recovered from a poor first half showing to dominate large portions of the second half.

However, Steeton returned home empty handed ahead of their final game of a difficult season away at Nelson this weekend.

That game has now been moved due to a waterlogged pitch at Nelson's Little Wembley, with the game now being played at Clitheroe's Shawbridge ground instead.

On the bright side, they are now mathematically safe, with none of the bottom three now able to catch the, on points.

The first half was a poor 45 minutes from a green and white perspective as the home side dominated possession throughout and created a number of chances.

Villa will be wondering how the deadlock was not broken after just seven minutes, a certain goal bound effort being prevented by an outstanding defensive block from Ryan Firth.

The hosts continued to pepper the Steeton goal with efforts from range and inside the area, finding themselves frustrated by a string of superb saves from James Catlow between the posts.

However, the breakthrough they desperately sought was found on the half hour mark.

A flowing team move down the Steeton right found just rewards as the ball was worked to the feet of skipper Pat Bibby.

Now inside the area, Bibby turned his man to free himself up and slot the ball beneath Catlow’s outstretched arm and into the bottom corner.

The home side continued in the ascendancy heading into the interval but found themselves frustrated by another two good stops from Catlow.

In a game of two halves in terms of football, Steeton had the better of things after the break before the controversy took hold.

Coming out of the traps brightly, the Chevrons found their equaliser just nine minutes after the restart.

Harry Norris took hold of the ball and drifted out wide to the right channel, noticing space inside he found an opening to cut inside to the Euxton box and square into the path of Luke Baldwin, who fired home under pressure from two Villa defenders.

Keighley News: Luke Baldwin was sent off for this incident when Steeton faced Euxton Villa in January 2023, but he had a much better afternoon against them on Saturday.Luke Baldwin was sent off for this incident when Steeton faced Euxton Villa in January 2023, but he had a much better afternoon against them on Saturday. (Image: Ian Meachin.)

Despite the ever-growing confidence in the Steeton team, another Firth block kept the scores level before the referee and linesman became the focus of all attention.

Racing through one-on-one with the keeper, Ethan Hudson-Parker looked to have had his ankles taken from behind inside the area.

The referee though ruled there was no penalty sparking a flurry of protests from the Steeton players.

Now under pressure, the official proceeded to sin-bin Chevrons player Jake Townsend before booking visiting coach Stewart Airdrie for his anger on the touchline.

With a man advantage, the home side made it count to retake the lead.

Catlow pulled off a superb diving save at the far post to tip a whipped goal bound effort away but Josh Briggs reacted quickest to the loose ball and smashed it into the roof of the net.

It ended up proving to be the winning goal, but only after the referee and his linesman made a major call in the 93rd minute.

Josh McKiernon thought he had earned his side a well-deserved point, turning home a George Gomersall cross after reading the ball superbly well.

The linesman however raised his flag to rule the effort out for offside, sparking yet more fury from the visiting players, coaches, and spectators, alike.

The resulting protests saw Ben McCready finish his afternoon in the sin-bin.

Finishing a pulsating half feeling a sense of injustice, attention turns to this Saturday’s final day, with Steeton looking to see off their season in style.