Blues claim a point in thriller

Waqas Azam
Waqas Azam

A severely depleted Blues squad travelled to Alder Street and claimed a point in a six-goal thriller against high-flying Atherton Collieries.

Injury and unavailability forced boss Paul Fildes in to five changes from the side beaten by Abbey Hey while the visitors were only able to name three substitutes.

Dave Sherlock attempted to exploit the change in Nelson’s XI early on but found Sean Davis too good as the goalkeeper claimed his strike.

Davis was then called in to action again soon after, this time thwarting Jake Kenny’s set-piece.

The Admirals gradually built some momentum and took the lead just after the half-hour mark when a loose ball fell in to the path of Waqas Azam and the left back thumped the ball past a helpless Kyle Haslam and in to the top corner.

Davis saved with his legs before the crossbar came to the keeper’s rescue later in the half as Nelson went in to the interval with the advantage.

The away sustained put their hosts under sustained pressure at the start of the second half and deservedly extended their lead in the 52nd minute.

A fine, incisive move from Stephen Cassidy and midfielder Mark Sharples manufactured the space for Adam Nuttall and the striker obliged by beating Haslam with ease.

The home side sought a response and almost reduced the arrears whjen Justin Pickering’s free kick drifted wide of the far post.

However, Atherton did eventually capitalise on Nelson’s failure to defend set-pieces when skipper Mark Ayres converted from a corner in the 63rd minute.

The Blues restored their two-goal cushion in the 68th minute when Nathan Webb’s dazzling run put the hosts on the back foot and the winger teed up Cassidy to make it 3-1.

But the hosts hit back again, scoring twice in as many minutes to salvage a share of the spoils.

The first came in the 75th minute when Ayres beat Davis from the spot and then Jordan Cover equalised when prodding home from close range from a corner.

The Blues, who were undone by a Nico Collins hat-trick at the Abbey Stadium at the weekend, host Maine Road on Saturday, entertain Cammell Laird 1907 at Victoria Park on Tuesday and travel to Winsford United on Thursday.