Nelson 4, AFC Darwen 0
Nelson extended their lead at the top of the North West Counties League First Division to seven points with a convincing win over Darwen on Saturday.
The Blues were without the suspended Danny Finch and Lydon Hodgkiss, with Matt O’Neill still out injured.
Otherwise, boss Mark Fell had a full squad to select from.
The Admirals started on the front foot, and Peter Wright soon brought a brilliant save from Stefan Holden in the visitors’ goal.
A chance fell to Adnan Ahmed, but his snap shot shaved the outside of Holden’s post.
Sakeel Abdullah then went on a long, jinking run, but overran the ball at the vital moment.
A long clearance from Ben Woodhead found Jonny Hession in space against his former club, but he put his effort wide - only to make amends when he beat Holden with a well-struck right foot shot on 19 minutes.
It was one-way traffic, and Robert Grimes burst into the box, only to be brought down, and the penalty was converted by leading scorer Wright.
Play developed into a midfield battle, although both Wright and Abdullah had shots blocked.
Man of the match Jake Lloyd then forced his way through and brought an excellent save out of Holden.
When the resulting corner wasn’t cleared, Hession pounced and hit a daisy-cutter past the despairing Holden to give Nelson a 3-0 half-time lead.
Darwen came out after the break in more determined mood, but, urged on by their second-biggest crowd of the season, Nelson began to exert more pressure on the overworked visiting defence.
Ed O’Neill found Grimes in space, but he screwed his shot wide, but the skipper wasn’t to be denied, and, when played in by Wright, he added the fourth goal.
With the points safe, Nelson took their foot off the pedal, and Woodhead had to be alert to push a snap shot around the post.
At the other end, Holden saved well with his legs from Ben Hoskin, and in a final flurrym Wright powered in a left-foot shot which brought a superb save from Holden.
At the death, substitutes Brandon Barski and Michael Morrison combined, the latter dragging his shot wide, but Nelson settled for four goals, to take their league tally to a staggering 85, and a rare clean sheet.
Tomorrow, the Blues make the trip to Ashton Town, kick-off 3 p.m.