NELSON travelled to Irlam on Saturday for their latest fixture in the North West Counties First Division, hoping to avoid a repeat of the 9-1 drubbing they suffered at the hands of their opponents on the first day of the season.
After a nightmare journey on gridlocked motorways, your correspondent arrived at Silver Street to find Nelson already 3-1 down after 25 minutes.
Although the Blues had taken the lead with an eighth-minute Abid Uddin penalty, Irlam fought back and had a golden patch where Gary Prescott levelled on 15 minutes, and Chris Palmer put the hosts in front two minutes later, before adding his second midway through the half.
There was no additon to the score before half-time, leaving Nelson 3-1 down with another half to play.
Early into the second half, Jerome Matthews (pictured) rounded the home keeper and slotted the ball home to reduce Nelson’s arrears.
Just after the hour mark, new signing Phil Cain was introduced to replace Majid Ahmed.
Matthews once again attacked and worked himself into a threatening position, although his shot from distance was well over the bar.
An Irlam goal attempt from a long way out was then cleared off the line, with Nelson’s keeper Nathan Worrell stranded out of his goal.
Matthews continued working and was put through by Shakeel, however, his fine drive just skimmed the wrong side of the post.
Irlam won a free kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the Blues’ penalty area, but it was wasted as the ball flew past the net.
Only a last ditch tackle on Uddin as he jinked his way into the Irlam box prevented the Nelson captain from equalising and gaining Nelson a valuble point, and from there the game looked over. As a last throw of the dice to attempt to rescue a point, Jason Powrie was sent on for Uddin, however it was too late for Powrie to make an impression.
The only blot on an encourging display was bookings for Masid Ahmed and Matthews.
For the second time in recent away games Nelson have lost by a single goal to a top two team in the league.
A huge improvement from the first match of the current season, losing 9-1.
However, the Blues’ local derby at home to Darwen under the floodlights on Wednesday night fell victim to the torrential rain of late.
Today Nelson are at home to Eccleshall, kick-off 3 p.m.
FINAL SCORE: Irlam 3, Nelson 2