Nelson missed the opportunity to push towards the top half of the North West Counties Premier Division table as they lost 2-1 against 10-man Ashton Athletic at Brocstedes Park.
Manager Paul Fildes made three changes from the XI that drew 2-2 at home to Bootle as Mark Sharples, Martin Broderick and Adam Nuttall stepped in for Bradley Wicks, Ryan Charnley and Will Threlkeld.
The first chance fell to former Blue Isaac Kusaloka who struck the legs of Callum Jakovlevs with his effort before skipper Ian Rowlands powered a header against the underside of the crossbar from a corner.
The Admirals, though, didn’t heed the warning and they fell behind from the home side’s next attack. Heath Ainscow capitalised on a flat-footed Nelson rearguard from Francis Barry’s assist and converted from close range in the seventh minute.
But the visitors responded well and they cancelled out Ashton’s advantage just six minutes later. Sharples’s raking crossfield ball found Nuttall and the striker slipped his marker and fired past goalkeeper Martin Pearson.
Waqas Azam was prominent down the right hand side and the Blues almost benefited when Nat Taylor forced Pearson in to a fine save at full stretch.
With Nelson applying the pressure the hosts were reduced to 10 men when Joel Brownhill was dismissed for a dangerous challenge on Azam who consequently required treatment.
However, the away side were unable to make their numerical advantage count before the break as Jack Hartley headed wide of the upright from a set-piece.
Both goalkeepers were realtively quiet after the interval though Jakovlevs was called upon to turn Barry’s free kick over the bar.
And the hosts forced a winner in the 75th minute as Kusaloka scambled the ball over the line to make it 2-1.
The Blues travel to the Marine Travel Arena tomorrow to face AFC Liverpool.