IT’S been a week to forget for Nelson and Paul Paynter’s side will want to resurrect their season over the Easter period.
The Blues picked up one point in three games, with a stalemate away at Oldham Boro sandwiched in-between defeats against Cheadle Town and First Division leaders Wigan Robin Park, both at Lomeshaye Way’s Little Wembley.
A brace from Phil Howard and a Stephen Edwards strike moved Wigan nine points clear of Abbey Hey, though third place Norton United are 12 points adrift with seven games in hand. Meanwhile, Nelson remain 17th though they have games in hand on the teams above them.
Against Cheadle Town, Paynter’s men were looking to bounce back from the 5-0 drubbing they suffered at Atherton Collieries. From the start the hosts were positive and Abid Uddin forced Stephen Piggott to tip his free-kick over the bar. And moments later the same player burst in to the area only to blaze his effort over.
As the home side pushed Suleman Hafeji looked to take the initiative but he was crowded out inside the penalty area as he looked to pull the trigger. Gradually Town became more prominent in the fixture and put Nelson under increased pressure with lively winger Paul Booth causing problems. The Blues worked on the break and Phil Cain went close from Jerome Mathews’ pass but his strike was deflected for a corner. Joe Heseltine then sought the breakthrough but he hooked his effort over the bar.
The Blues went in level at the interval and started the second half strongly, however, they were unable to stamp their authority on the match. Again the away side slowly took control and Matt German’s shot whistled past the post.
Eric Ohemeng, replacing Nathan Worrell in goal, had to be alert to punch clear through a crowd of players after Uddin had conceded a free-kick. But the keeper couldn’t do anything as Town took the lead from a similar set-piece as a Blues defender, in desperation to clear, sliced the ball in to his own net on the hour.
Nelson went for the jugular in an attempt to salvage something from the game but when Piggott dropped on a snap shot from Kaysar Ahmed it was all over.
And the Blues were denied maximum points against Oldham as yet another own goal, with just 11 minutes remaining, cost them dearly.
In a bid to change Nelson’s fortunes Paynter rung the changes with Carl Busby returning in goal while Ahmed, Shakeel Butt, Nasir Hussain and Craig Boothby were all recalled to the starting XI.
Nasir Hussain’s shot flashed wide inside the first minute but the home side responded and Lee Knowles should have broken the deadlock with a superb opening only to screw his shot wide of the target.
A snap shot from Matthews was then pounced on by Danny Pearson and the striker then set up Ahmed but his angled rive cleared the bar. Paul Sells and Hussain searched for the opener, but in vain, and just when it seemed Nelson’s profligacy would be costly Matthews broke from the halfway line, outpaced Oldham’s rearguard, and sunk the ball in to the corner left-footed in the 31st minute.
The Blues held on to that advantage until the interval but invited their opponents on in the second half. However, they still managed to create chances; Matthews was thwarted by Pearson after breaking clear while Butt fired well wide.
But the Blues shot themselves in the foot again when a scramble in the penalty area led to a second own goal in as many games to gift Oldham an equaliser in the 79th minute.
Both sides pushed for the winner but at full-time they had to settle for a share of the spoils. Nelson now entertain Rochdale Town tomorrow before travelling to face title-chasing Norton United on Easter Monday.