Brothers in arms for Blues as three O’Neills score!

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Brothers Joe, Ed and Matt O’Neill were all on target as Nelson hit eight for the third time this season, beating Widnes Vikings 8-1 to move nine points clear at the top of the NWC First Division.

The Blues’ latest haul saw them top 100 league goals for the campaign, on a day where Peter Wright also claimed a hat-trick, and Danny Finch made his 100th appearance for the club.

Another reshuffle of the squad by manager Mark Fell saw Joe O’Neill, signed from Ashton United, come in for the unavailable Michael Morrison.

Nelson started on the front foot, and in the first minute had a penalty claim turned down when Robert Grimes was upended by two defenders.

And Widnes took a shock lead after only five minutes when a left wing cross was converted by Brett Adamson.

This stung the Blues into action, but there was a disruption when Jake Lloyd suffered a bad injury and was replaced by Finch.

Joe O’Neill chased a throughball but was robbed at the last second, before Nelson equalised when Matt O’Neill found Wright in space, and he beat Luke Vaughan easily.

Then came a purple patch for the Blues, with three goals in as many minutes.

First a long centre from Finch was headed home by George Melling.

Within a minute a poor punch by the keeper was punished by Matt O’Neill, and in the Blues’ next attack, debutant Joe O’Neill put Nelson further ahead.

Wright was then fouled in the area and took the penalty himself to make it 5-1.

After the break, Wright, fed by Joe O’Neill, then notched his hat-trick as Nelson, needing eight goals at the start of play for 100 in the league, neared the target.

Jonny Hession replaced Dan Mahoney, and play continued to be interrupted by stoppages and bookings in what had not been an overly-aggressive game.

Botham’s long distance effort was beaten away by Vaughan, before Ben Woodhead saved at his near post in a rare Vikings attack.

Hession netted but his goal was disallowed for a foul on the keeper, before Matt O’Neill side-footed past Vaughan after Grimes’ shot rebounded off a defender.

Ed O’Neill joined his brothers on the scoresheet with Nelson’s eighth, to keep the Blues unbeaten in 2014, and nine points clear of Formby in second, who have three games in hand.

Nelson visit Eccleshall on Saturday.