Oxenhope Recreation 1

Steeton 3

AN Andy Briggs brace sent Steeton through to the Keighley District FA Cup Final after victory over ten-man Oxenhope Recreation.

The wintry weather forced this semi to be moved to Marley Stadium and during the game the weather switched from heavy snow to sunshine.

But the kick-off was delayed by almost ten minutes by the lack of a match ball.

Steeton, missing six first players through injury and suspension, were forced to shuffle the pack further after defender Sam Rooke was injured in the pre-match warm-up. He was replaced by returning striker Alex Yates who lead the attack.

Matters went from bad to worse for Roy Mason's men after six minutes when two former Steeton players combined to give Oxenhope the lead. A huge wind-assisted clearance from goalkeeper Ricky Driver sailed over the back three and fell to Lee Reilly, who chipped the ball over Joe Mash.

Steeton hit the post after just three minutes through Andy Briggs and they continued to pressurise the Recreation goal.

The equaliser came after 25 minutes when an interchange of passes down the right allowed Yates to cross the ball for Briggs to fire home.

It was all Steeton as Mash and defenders Alistair Morgan, Michael Rhodes and Joe Park were rarely as troubled as much as their counterparts at the other end of the pitch.

Toby Jeffrey, in the right back position despite playing up front, started a fine series of passes which saw the ball transferred from one end of the pitch to the other. Jeffrey continued the move and cut it back to Yates, who made it 2-1.

With seconds to go before the interval, Morgan saw his effort rebound off the crossbar.

Steeton introduced Freddie Maddocks for his first team debut in the second-half. He replaced Joe Park and took up a left sided midfield role with Elliot Scott dropping into the back line.

The Steeton defence was pushed harder as Oxenhope strove to find an equaliser which just would not come. After 52 minutes a long throw-in from Jonah Smith was collected by Yates, who rammed the ball past Driver, but saw his effort ruled out for offside. The game was held up as the referee consulted both of his assistants.

Oxenhope's Scott Nelson was shown a straight red card on 85 minutes after a foul on Smith. Because of many stoppages some eight minutes were added and, in the last of these, Briggs was put through for a one-on-one with Driver, whom he rounded before slotting the ball into the empty net.

Mason said: "With six players missing through injuries and suspension our squad was being tested to the limit.

"I thought that bar the first 15 minutes we controlled the game and we played some great football at times in very difficult conditions and our movement and use of the ball was good.

"For some of our younger players it was their first experience of a local derby and I thought that they handled the game very well."