World Cup winners prevail!

Nelson Football Club
Nelson Football Club

Nelson, Wembley visitors a fortnight ago, saw one route back to the national stadium closed on Saturday.

But Mark Fell’s side were hard done to as they were knocked out of the FA Cup by FA Vase runners-up West Auckland Town with a 2-1 reverse at Victoria Park.

It was a battle between two clubs with a grand past - Nelson having famously beaten Real Madrid in 1923, with West Auckland, in 1909 and again in 1911, won the Thomas Lipton Trophy - a forerunner of the World Cup, beating Juventus among others!

The Blues were again without influential skipper Robert Grimes, as Fell went with the side which demolished Barnoldswick Town in midweek.

The Admirals started on the front foot, as the visitors looked hesitant.

Some robust challenges came in from the North East side, which gifted Nelson several free kicks.

Dan Mahoney took the dead balls, one of which was headed behind for a corner.

Ben Hoskin then broke forward and sent a right-foot shot just wide of Dan Lowson’s right-hand post.

Peter Wright, fed by Joe O’Neill, fired the Blues into the lead, beating Lowson with a powerful left-foot shot.

At the other end, Paul Garthwaite shot tamely at Ben Woodhead.

Shortly after, Matt Moffat headed a corner wide, but, as Nelson pressed, Matt O’Neill tricked his way into the danger area, with his only reward being a corner.

Jonny Hession had a good chance to cross, but fed the ball behind the forwards, and Nelson were made to pay when West Auckland levelled as Moffat headed home a deep free kick.

The visitors then had their best spell, and it was no surprise when Lewis Galpin rose above a static defence to put West Auckland ahead.

This spurred the Blues on, and Wright brought a full-length save out of Lowson, before Joe O’Neill was booked for a foul on Galpin.

Nelson came out after the break chasing the game, and Wright and Joe O’Neill combined to put Charlie Holt through, but the final ball was overhit.

Hoskin went in the book for a late challenge, before Gareth Peet replaced Hession.

A Peet corner was headed against the post and away to safety, and moments later a close range effort from Wright rebounded back into play after hitting the underside of the bar.

Nelson kept pressing, but the visitors remained resolute. An opportunistic strike from Matt O’Neill flew wide before Garthwaite was booked for a cynical challenge on Peet.

Ed O’Neill came on for Holt as the Blues threw caution to the wind, and Liam Boswell also joined the fray for Matt O’Nell, but time ran out for the hosts, to the relief of the travelling fans.

Nelson will turn to the FA Vase for a fresh opportunity of a return to Wembley, but until next year, their interest in the FA Cup is at an end.

Nelson are at Maine Road tomorrow before hosting Bacup and Rossendale on Tuesday night.