Keeper preserves Nelson’s great start

CHANCE: Danny Boyle
CHANCE: Danny Boyle

NELSON extended their unbeaten start to the season with a draw against Daisy Hill on Saturday.

It was the Bolton-based side that had the better of the opening exchanges, and they were unlucky to see a free kick come back off the wall, before influential captain Craig Xuereb found himself space but struck his shot well wide.

Nelson’s first chance came through Danny Boyle, who went on a mazy run and rounded the keeper, only to see his shot cleared off the line.

Chris Taylor was in action again minutes later when Nathan Egan was played through on goal, but his weak effort was easily saved.

A succession of Boyle corners heaped more pressure on Daisy Hill, and when the ball fell to the unmarked Robert Grimes, he somehow scuffed his shot wide.

The hosts then took a surprise lead on 25 minutes through Daniel Gregory who finished with aplomb, leaving stand-in goalkeeper Richard Geoghegan no chance.

This brought the game to life and the New Sirs home crowd was silenced a minute later, when a quick attack saw Boyle race free of the defence, and this time he made no mistake to cooly slot home the equaliser.

With the first half nearing its end, play started to become scrappy and Chris Nuttall saw his name enter the book for a cynical challenge, before Martin Hastings picked up a yellow card of his own for hacking down Grimes.

After the restart, goalscorer Boyle was once again in the thick of it, and after being fouled, he stepped up to take the subsequent free kick but he drilled the shot wide of the post.

More good work from Boyle saw him tee up Joshua Cliff but his tame effort failed to trouble Taylor.

Nelson were in the ascendancy with Sean Malkin and Egan linking up well.

Egan then played a through ball for Grimes who beat Taylor at his near post from a narrow angle.

Grimes then almost come provider when he released Cliff but his cross-come-shot floated wide of the far post with the well-placed Grimes the better option in the middle.

Daisy Hill were not to be wrote off though and when a long throw-in caught the Admirals defence flat-footed, Jordan James was more than happy to oblige in levelling things up at the back post to make it 2-2.

Player-manager Grimes then had a gilt-edged chance to restore Nelson’s advantage, but with Taylor stranded out of his goal, he couldn’t capitalise and saw his shot well blocked for a corner.

With full-time approaching, the hosts pressed for a winner and only several good saves from debutant Geoghegan at full length could preserve Nelson’s unbeaten record.

Nelson are at home to West Didsbury and Chorlton on Saturday, and travel to Barrow-in-Furness on Tuesday to face bottom of the league Holker Old Boys.

FINAL SCORE: Daisy Hill 2, Nelson 2