Steeton 1 Hunsworth 2
Roy Mason was not happy after seeing his depleted side slip to defeat in the West Riding County Amateur League Premier Division.
“It was a totally unacceptable performance against a side who, with all due respect, we should be beating, even with players missing,” said Mason, who went into the match without Lee Reilly, Tim Hird and captain Michael Rhodes.
“Until we realise that we have to earn the right to win matches, then we will always be susceptible to these kind of results.
“I will be looking for a big improvement at Bay Athletic on Saturday,” added Mason, who admitted the defeat at shown up a problem for the Chevrons.
“It highlighted the lack of depth in our squad that is needed to compete at this level and that is something I will be addressing in the next few weeks.”
Steeton slipped to their fourth home league defeat of the season against a plucky and determined Hunsworth side.
The returning Matty Kershaw took Reilly’s No.9 shirt, Ryan Cox slotted into Hird’s midfield position and Joe Mason took over at right back with the captain’s armband given to Andy Holden.
Kershaw and Graham Holmes were unlucky with shots that were cleared off the line and went narrowly wide.
Holmes’ effort resulted in a goal kick, which went directly to the visitors’ centre forward and his shot, like that of Holmes, missed the target by inches.
On the half hour mark a determined attack down the Hunsworth right led to Steeton goalkeeper Josh Brooksbank being beaten. However, superb positioning by Arley Barnes made sure that the ball was cleared just before it crossed the line.
The centre back partnership between Barnes and partner Sam Rooke is proving to be a great success in Steeton’s formation this season.
The deadlock was finally broken after 42 minutes when a corner kick taken by Mark McGee caused great confusion in the visitors’ penalty area.
The ball was bouncing around and no player seemed able to bring it under control.
Kershaw mishit the ball, which seemed to be going goalwards before it struck the hand of a Hunsworth defender.
Loud appeals for a penalty kick were turned away by the referee but in the confusion Rooke slammed the ball home to give the hosts a half-time advantage.
Hunsworth came out in the second half with a more determined look and strove hard in an attempt to register an equaliser and it was only thanks to stout defending by Joe Park in particular that in the first 20 minutes they were unsuccessful.
Steeton’s attempts to double their lead were many but constantly thwarted by a strong back line and confident goalkeeping.
However, an equaliser did seem on the cards and it came after 66 minutes when the hosts were caught out by a quick counter attack.
The visitors’ No.10 collected a long through pass from midfield and brought the ball into the penalty area, drew goalkeeper Brooksbank and slotted the ball home a split second before Rooke got in a sliding tackle.
Before the game restarted Kershaw was replaced by Dominic Mortimer who was making his first league appearances for the first team.
Within a minute of coming on to the field the substitute tried a 25-yard drive, which brought out the best of the visiting goalkeeper, who grabbed the ball at the second attempt.
Shortly afterwards, Mortimer was put through by Cox and found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper, who unfortunately, from the hosts’ point of view, had a slight start on the attacker and managed to smother the ball by diving at his feet, injuring himself in the process.
However, after treatment he was able to continue.
After 73 minutes a superb goal-bound volley by Holden was blocked by a defender.
With 10 minutes left McGee was replaced by Toby Rawcliffe.
Hunsworth’s winning goal came with less than five minutes left from a fluke.
A hopeful ball pumped into the penalty area caused confusion among the hosts’ defenders and Mason slipped as he attempted to boot the ball clear.
However, as he fell he got his left foot to the ball, which, unfortunately, struck the back of Rooke and sailed past Brooksbank before he could make a move to prevent the ball crossing the line.
Steeton pushed forward in what remained of the game and, as a result, were almost caught out but a superb tackle by Mason prevented he and Park being exposed to what would have been a three-pronged attack.
Despite defeat Steeton remain in seventh place in the table.
Steeton: Brooksbank, Mason, Park, Barnes, Rooke, Richmond, Holden, Cox, Kershaw (Mortimer), Holmes, McGee (Rawcliffe). Substitute (unused): Meegan.
Steeton 1 Hunsworth 2