Blues suffer late setback after point deduction blow

Ben Hoskin challenges for a high ball in the Bootle goalmouth
Ben Hoskin challenges for a high ball in the Bootle goalmouth
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Blues boss Alex Norwood retains the belief his side can stave off the drop in the second half of the season.

A goal two minutes from time condemned Nelson to defeat at home to Runcorn Linnets on Saturday.

The Blues had led with a seventh-minute goal from the returning Ben Hoskin, and still held their advantage with 18 minutes remaining, when Anthony Hickey levelled matters.

And Hickey snatched a last-gasp winner for the visitors to leave the Admirals 10 points adrift of safety with a game in hand.

But Norwood is confident, having been able to add the experience and quality of the likes of Hoskin and Jay Hart over the last few weeks, that the Admirals can pull off an escape: “We’re ready to hit it head on.

“In a position like this, you’re looking for experienced lads who know this level, and how to win at this level, and we’ve got them now.

“We have a good core now and once that first win comes, it can become a habit.”

Nelson hope to add to their two league wins when they travel to derby rivals Barnoldswick Town on Boxing Day: “We’ll take a win whoever it comes against to be honest, We’ve done well against Atherton Collieries and Runcorn Linnets, so we’ve seen we can do it against those sort of sides, but we have to get results against teams like Barnoldswick and Darwen.

“There’s a bit of pressure, but that is the situation we are in, and we have to embrace it.”

And Norwood is under no illusions as to the task in hand: “We’ve done quite well in the cups, and that has probably overshadowed the fact our last league win came in October.

“We need to get wins on the board. With games diminishing, the number of wins we need doesn’t.

“We’re not getting what we deserve at the moment though, and Saturday was a prime example.

“We’re still quite a new team and need time to gel, but we’ve forgotten how to see games out.

“There are good signs though, and I believe we’ll give someone will get a hiding sooner or later.”

The cause wasn’t helped by a point deduction issued last week in relation to playing an ineligible player, Charlie Collinge, against Atherton Colleries in October, but Norwood accepted: “It wasn’t a surprise, we were proactive, we noticed he had a suspension to serve and flagged it up ourselves.”