The Blues hit a cul-de-sac on their road to Wembley after Heaton Stannington claimed a 2-1 win in the FA Vase at Victoria Park.
The hosts were ahead before the quarter-of-an-hour mark when Jake Townsend capitalised on a mix up between goalkeeper Matthew Smith and his defence to tuck the ball home.
However, the Northern League Second Division outfit were level in a matter of minutes when the Admirals failed to deal with a set-piece and Graham Hargreaves steered a header beyond Steven James when unmarked at the far post.
The away side went close to edging ahead after half-an-hour of the tie had elapsed but striker Paul Blackett was denied by an outstanding save by James.
Derek Thompson’s side did take the lead in their next foray forward, though. James did well once again to keep Dan Robinson’s attempt out but the ball was palmed out to Dean Imray who made no mistake with the rebound.
The away side almost benefited from another free-kick early in the second half but substitute Ryan Bailey couldn’t find a way past James. The Blues stopper then pulled off another spectacular save to thwart Shane Jones.
The hosts pushed for an equaliser as the half progressed but they lacked a cutting edge in front of goal
Jake Parker flicked a header wide from six yards out, Kev Brown then poked a shot over the bar from close range before the defender guided a header wide of the upright.
After James’s heroics earlier in the fixture it was Smith’s turn to stand out. With the away side hanging on, and Nelson throwing everything but the kitchen sink at their opponents, the keeper produced two fantastic saves late on to preserve his side’s advantage.
Meanwhile, rain of biblical proportions, coupled by prolonged spells of thunder and lightening, put a stop to Nelson’s midweek league game against rivals AFC Darwen.