Happy Monday for Nelson

Ashley Higgins goes down under a heavy challenge.
Ashley Higgins goes down under a heavy challenge.

NELSON travelled to Atherton to face sixth placed Oldham Boro on a Monday evening clash, for their third game in under a week.

With such a congested fixture list - this was their seventh game in February - manager Mark Fell took the opportunity to rotate his squad from Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at Formby.

Max Jones, Danny Johnson, Liam Hutchinson and Ashley Higgins started, while Danny Finch, Ralph Welch, Brandon Barski and Adam Stockdale all made way.

Both sides started tentatively in a cagey opening and Nelson created the first goalscoring opportunity when Nat Taylor lofted a shot over the bar after being put through on goal.

Andrew Naylor then flashed a shot wide from distance and Hutchinson forced a corner as Nelson began to dominate.

Their cause was greatly helped by the fact Naylor and Chris Turner were winning the midfield battle and bossing the centre of the park.

Mazy runs from Tom Murphy and Hutchinson kept the home side on the back foot, but some last ditch tackling prevented Nelson from pressing home their advantage.

Higgins then forced his way into the area and crossed for Tom Anderton, who managed to hit the post from eight yards out when it seemed easier to score.

However, the visitors were not to be denied as defender Iain Robinson headed home from a corner on the left side after 41 minutes and give Nelson a well-deserved half-time lead.

The second-half started in the same fashion as Nelson pinned the home side back, but they were unable to create any clear-cut chances until the 54th minute.

Higgins released Naylor into the area and the advancing forward was promptly flattened by the Oldham goalkeeper Thomas Elford to give Nelson a great opportunity to score from the penalty spot.

Surprisingly, the keeper wasn’t even cautioned for the offence but Higgins made no mistake as he stroked the penalty home to make it 2-0 to the visitors.

Elford then found himself back in action quite quickly as Nelson looked to kill the game off. Turner was fouled in midfield and his resulting free kick brought a fine finger tip save from the Oldham keeper.

In a bid to press home thier advantage, manager Fell took off Higgins and brought on Barski, who nearly scored soon after coming on. He did well to beat the off-side trap but failed to convert the chance despite rounding the keeper.

Lee Botham came on to replace Johnson and his first telling contribution was to concede a free kick in his own half.

From the resulting set piece a goalmouth scramble ensued and James Curley scored to bring Oldham back into the game at 2-1 after 77 minutes.

Both Barski and Hutchinson spurned further opportunities to increase the Nelson lead but it didn’t matter too much as they were able to see the game out.

The win sees the Blues up to 10th in the North West Counties Football League - Division One, with a very workmanlike performance against a side who had just beaten league leaders Darwen

Liam Hutchinson was named man of the match and Nelson now turn their attention to tomorrow’s home fixture against Irlam (kick-off 3 p.m.).