NELSON’S winter nightmare is finally over as they returned to the football field for the first time in three months, much to the delight of manager Paul Paynter.
Tuesday evening saw the Blues end their seasonal exile with a 2-1 victory over Formby Town. Goals from Sakhi Butt and Jerrome Matthews saw Nelson squeeze past their North West rivals to book a place in the next round of the First Division Trophy. The original fixture was scheduled to be played in late November, but after a series of cancellations the game was finally played at the sixth attempt.
Despite his side’s long wait for a match, Paynter was understandably impressed with the performance his side gave: “First and foremost we were just happy to get playing again.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic with the performance. We were very limited in terms of who could play. We only had 14 players available.
“But the lads played well and deserved to win.
“We coped very well with such a small squad. They had a little bit more possession but we defended really well and the lads were able to put in a good performance.”
The Blues boss was eager to congratulate his players on their excellent display: “I was really impressed by the lads, they exceeded themselves.
“Formby had more of the ball, but the lads defended superbly. Everyone put the work in and I was really pleased with the effort they gave.”
“Our work rate was very good and I was really impressed. Formby are a useful side, so we knew that the game wouldn’t be easy.”
Next up for the Blues is a visit from Cheadle Town, a team that sit five points above Nelson, but have played four games more. Paynter is hopeful of picking up another victory, but remains wary of complacency: “I do fancy us to get a win, especially with the game being at home, but we’re not going to get ahead of ourselves.
“We’ll be without a number of players for the game because of work commitments, but that’s just the nature of playing at this level.”
With cup competitions out of the way for now, Nelson will once again turn their attentions to the league. This is something Paynter has been looking forward to for sometime and sees it as an ideal opportunity to introduce some new faces to his side: “I’ve got one or two lads that I’m going to include in the squad this week. I’m hoping that at least one of them will start. They’re young lads and they’ve got plenty of energy.
Paynter also confirmed he would soon be adding even more depth to his squad: “I’m hoping to complete a couple more signings this week, so hopefully we won’t be that stretched in future games.”
With so many rearranged fixtures to play no one would blame a manager for feeling a little under pressure, but the Blues boss, as always, remains positive: “We’ll have games coming up think and fast, but I’m keen to get matches played.
“One of the lads mentioned that we’re on a four match unbeaten run; granted a few of those games were before the winter break, but it’s still a good run.”