Fildes off the mark with first win as Blues boss

Waqas Azam in action against Alsager Town''''''''Picture: Mark Wilkinson
Waqas Azam in action against Alsager Town''''''''Picture: Mark Wilkinson
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Paul Fildes is off the mark as Nelson FC boss as the Blues claimed their first maximum since October in a 3-0 win over 10-man Alsager Town.

The striker took over at the helm in November, replacing Mark Fell at Victoria Park, and initially took in the 3-0 loss to Chorley in the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy as a spectator.

Since then the Admirals, who hadn’t secured a league win since beating AFC Blackpool 3-1 on home soil, had registered two defeats and two draws while enduring seven postponements.

But their patience finally paid off as Nelson climbed to 14th in the North West Counties Premier Division ahead of Saturday’s trip to Runcorn Linnets.

Fildes made two changes from the stalemate with AFC Darwen, bringing in Bradley Wicks and Will Threlkeld for Stephen Cassidy and defender Ashley Brierley.

The visitors started off on the front foot as frontman Daniel Brown worked an opening in front of goal but his attempt was brilliantly turned over the bar by goalkeeper Sean Davis.

After a few half chances fell for either side, the game developed into a midfield battle with Threlkeld having the best chance of them all as he blazed over after cutting infield from the left hand side.

Minutes later Wayne Morrison forced Chris Fletcher into a near post save at the expense of a corner, leading to striker Ryan Charnley putting his shot just over the crossbar.

Nelson eventually took the lead in the 35th minute just seconds after full back Waqas Azam had rattled the bar with a right-footed effort.

Charnley capitalised on the away side’s failure to clear a corner and assisted Threlkeld who was able to guide the ball in to the net to make it 1-0.

The home side almost doubled their advantage before the interval when Tom Bradley’s spectacular drive at goal was thwarted by Fletcher who did exceptionally well to divert the ball over the bar.

After the break the hosts continued from where they had left off in the first half. And their task was made that bit easier when their opponents were reduced to 10 men.

Town’s stopper Fletcher was the man to be given his marching orders when upending Azam to give the hosts the opportunity to extend their lead from the spot.

That prompted a change from the visitors as Michael Machin replaced Jonathan Jones to fill the void between the posts.

However, his first action of the afternoon was to pick the ball out of the net as Azam converted from 12 yards, slotting the penalty to the substitute’s right in the 66th minute.

Fildes then rang the changes, introducing Ashley Brierley and Adnan Ahmed at the expense of Wicks and Threlkeld.

The Blues continued to probe but Brierley’s shot, courtesy of Morrison’s incisive pass, wasn’t enough to trouble Machin.

Goal number three did eventually arrive and it was Azam again.

Martin Broderick, who had replaced Morrison in the 81st minute, was on hand to pick out Azam again after the right back’s stunning volley had struck the bar and the former Clarets youngster made no mistake this time as he beat his marker and calmly slotted home with his left foot.

Brierley tested Machin late on while Davis, who had been a bystander for most of the second half, stayed alert to preserve his clean sheet when sprawling to his left to deny Leigh Skellern.