West Riding County FA Challenge Cup fourth round: Steeton 4 Salts 1

STEETON provided a fitting tribute to Archie Airdrie as they cruised into the quarter-finals of the County Cup.

The matchday programme had been dedicated to the popular former reserve-team manager and long-standing committee member, who passed away just before Christmas.

A minute's applause was held in his honour before the kick-off and it wasn't long before the hosts took the lead against their West Riding County Amateur League neighbours, who are top of the table.

Roy Mason's side took just over ten minutes to take the lead when Andy Holden's free-kick caused consternation in the visitors' defence, with their goalkeeper calling for the ball but failing to collect it.

Jonah Smith brought it down and slid in Sam Rooke, who made no mistake from close range.

The hosts had ample opportunity to increase the lead when, on three occasions, skipper Tim Hird lobbed the ball over the defence into the path of strikers Ben Clarkson and Andy Briggs, who both missed one-on-one chances.

At the other end the centre-back partnership of Rooke and Steve Pearson showed its usual steadiness and fullbacks Joe Mason and Elliott Scott were rarely stretched and often went forward in support of the attack. When the back line was breached Salts found home goalkeeper Joe Mash in confident form.

Three minutes before the interval Briggs was unlucky to see a fine glancing header rebound off an upright after a superb right-wing cross from Smith.

Two minutes into the second half Clarkson almost scored Steeton's second but was thwarted by a sound piece of goalkeeping.

Salts came out stronger and it did not take them long to find an equaliser. On 50 minutes after a scramble in the home penalty area, the ball fell to striker Jamie Birchall, who rammed in an unstoppable shot from 18 yards.

Seven minutes later Clarkson saw a superb effort just clear the bar. However, the Chevrons' persistent attacking paid off on the hour-mark when Briggs latched onto a loose ball and rifled a left foot drive into the net to notch his 13th goal of the season.

Five minutes later Ben Richardson latched onto a through ball on the left and powered a shot into the top corner for his first of the season.

Steeton replaced Briggs with Graham Holmes and Alistair Morgan took over from Mason, who had earlier suffered a knock to the face.

Steeton continued to push forward and, with just seconds remaining, Smith fired in a shot which was parried by the keeper, only for Clarkson to blast home the rebound into the roof of the net.

The goal brought his first-team tally for the season to 17 from 18 games.

Victory took Steeton's unbeaten run to 11 games and their reward is another home tie on February 3 when they welcome holders Carlton Athletic of the West Yorkshire League.

Steeton: Mash, Mason (Morgan), Scott, Pearson, Rooke, Hird, Holden, Smith, Clarkson, Briggs (Holmes), Richardson.