Blues inflict first defeat on league leaders Runcorn

SPORT - Football action - FA Vase competition - Northern League Division One - 2nd qualifying round - replay 'Nelson (blue kit) take on West Allotment Celtic (green kit) at Nelson FC, Victoria Park - Nelson's Joe O'Neill keeps his eye on the ball.

SPORT - Football action - FA Vase competition - Northern League Division One - 2nd qualifying round - replay 'Nelson (blue kit) take on West Allotment Celtic (green kit) at Nelson FC, Victoria Park - Nelson's Joe O'Neill keeps his eye on the ball.

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Despite having 10 men for an hour, Nelson recorded leaders Runcorn’s first defeat of the season in an enthralling game at Victoria Park that ended 2-1 on Saturday.

The visitors were the quickest out of the blocks, hitting the woodwork twice in the first 15 minutes.

But the Blues worked their way back into the game, and on 25 minutes, Joe O’Neill pounced on a ball that Runcorn defender Michael White had misjudged, and he hammered a wonderful left-footed finish across the keeper from the edge of the area.

A flashpoint came five minutes later, with the prolofic Peter Wright sent off for an alleged headbutt on River Humphries - although the official missing a punch on O’Neill that led up to the incident where the players went head to head, with only Wright dismissed.

That gave Linnets some impetus, and they went on the attack again, only to be caught by Nelson break on the stroke of half-time.

The mercurial Michael Morrison, playing against his old club, stormed through from midfield and his shaped shot from 18 yards took a deflection and dipped over Mottram in the Linnets goal.

The second half was just as dramatic, the Blues conceding the play in the visitors’ half to get men behind the ball, and it stifled Linnets, who couldn’t make the extra man count.

However, they were back in the game with 20 minutes left to play, the referee seeing something that no one else had, as he awarded a penalty as a corner was swung in.

The foul was adjudged to be on White, who stepped up to score from the spot.

White, never far from the action, was involved again,as on 80 minutes he kicked out at O’Neill from a corner and was sent off, levelling the sides up.

Nelson could have put the game to bed a minute later when substitute Gareth Peet cut in from the left, but his shot beat the keeper and the far post.

In the end, a magnificent tactical display from the Admirals was rewarded, and they have another week off to savour the win before another home game against Alsager on December 13th - which also ties in with the club’s Joe Fagan Tribute Walk, which is scheduled to end at Victoria Park at 2 p.m.

The 63-mile walk, raising funds for a new Joe Fagan Stand at Little Wembley, will start the previous night, with a host of former professionals joining in.

Further details are available at www.redwoodevents.net, including a fundraising dinner at the Maida in Blackburn on December 17th.