Fell is manager of month after six wins in six games

Nelson FC Manager Mark Fell before the game against AFC Darwen.'Photo Ben Parsons
Nelson FC Manager Mark Fell before the game against AFC Darwen.'Photo Ben Parsons

Nelson boss Mark Fell is the NWCFL First Division Manager of the Month for November.

Fell guided the Blues to six wins from six games during the month, with three league wins keeping the side in the promotion hunt.

There were also wins against Daisy Hill and Irlam in the First Division Challenge Cup, as well as the memorable LFA Challenge Trophy win at EvoStik First Division North side Lancaster City.

The club will hope their current form, as well as an enticing clash against the side with the best travelling support in the division, will guarantee a bumper crowd at Victoria Park tomorrow.

Third place Nelson host second place 1874 Northwich, knowing a win would see the Blues climb above their opponents into the automatic promotion places, with a game in hand.

On Saturday, Nelson rounded off a perfect November with a 3-2 win at Cheadle Town.

The Blues played with 10 men for47 minutes after the dismissal of keeper Ben Woodhead just before half-time.

Fell made four changes from the side that beat Irlam in the league cup in midweek, bringing in Brandon Barski, Danny Finch, Lydon Hodgkiss and George Melling.

And Nelson went in front as early as the fourth minute as the in-form Robert Grimes made a trademark break into the box and drifted in at the back post to finish well from Sakeel Abdullah’s cross.

Grimes saw a second harshly ruled out for a foul 10 minutes later, and, after Nelson had dominated the opening quarter of the game, the hosts came to life.

Paul Walley headed a Ben Roberts free kick against the post, before, just after the half hour, a goal kick was headed on in midfield and Ben Brooks raced onto the ball, and, under pressure from Melling, drilled the ball past Woodhead.

However, Nelson produced an immediate response as Abdullah was fouled 30 yards out, and Hodgkiss whipped the ball up and over the wall to restore the Blues’ lead.

Peter Wright was denied a penalty after being brought down in the area, but right on half-time, a long ball again sent Brooks clear, and he went down in a challenge with Woodhead.

The referee pointed to the spot and dismissed Woodhead, but Michael Pilkington, Nelson’s 18-year-old substitute keeper, was an instant hero as he sprung to his left to save Brooks’ spot kick.

After the break, Nelson were hard to break down, and could have added to their lead before they finally did 12 minutes from time, as Wright’s initial effort was well blocked, but Grimes calmly slotted the rebound past a crowd of players.

Joe Armstrong headed in a free kick late on, but Nelson were not to be denied a very important three points away from home.