Late Khan goal earns Nelson a point

Nelson FC Manager Mark Fell
Nelson FC Manager Mark Fell
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NELSON took one point from six over the week, courtesy of a late equaliser at Eccleshall on Wednesday night. NELSON took one point from six over the week, courtesy of a late equaliser at Eccleshall on Wednesday night.

The Blues had lost out 3-2 at Darwen on Easter Monday to a late goal at the Anchor Ground.

On Wednesday, Mark Fell’s side fell behind just after the hour to a goal from Eccleshall’s Dan Jones.

But with six minutes remaining, Imran Khan earned the Blues a share of the spoils in front of a crowd of 37.

Fell (pictured) made some enforced changes at AFC Darwen on Easter Monday, with captain Chris Turner injured, and Danny Finch, Adam Stockdale and Jake Lloyd all unavailable.

In came Tom Doyle, Joe Wilkinson, Nick Murphy and Iain Robinson, who took the armband.

Both teams struggled in the troublesome wind in the early stages, but Darwen had the wind advantage and started the better.

Slightly against the run of play, on nine minutes, Nelson took the lead when debutant Murphy blasted the ball past the flat-footed Daniel Fradd in the home goal.

Two bookings quickly followed by the overly-fussy referee for Darwen’s Matt Taylor and Murphy.

Bobby Langford forced Ben Woodhead to save his point-blank shot, only for Langford to put the rebound over.

Then Ryan Steele was felled by Tom Murphy in the area, and from the penalty, Woodhead made a brilliant stop from Steele.

Murphy was booked for the foul, and Darwen’s Kieran Wood followed him into the book.

Tom Anderton spent several minutes receiving treatment for an arm injury after an accidental collision, before Brandon Barski, fed by Nick Murphy, advanced on goal, but shot into the side-netting.

The same player was then fouled just outside the area, but he wasted the free kick, firing over.

Woodhead was called into action again, making a fine save from the ever-dangerous Langford, before denying Tom Entwistle.

Four successive corners tested the Nelson defence, but having survived, a mix-up in the Blues’ rearguard allowed Langford to score from close rage and send the sides in level.

With the win now at their backs, Nelson still found it hard to make progress against a resolute home defence, and they introduced Andrew Eaton for Max Jones.

It paid dividends almost immediately when, as Nat Taylor was fouled, Anderton floated the free kick towards goal, and the ball was headed in by Eaton to make it 2-1.

Joe Wilkinson was then withdrawn and Alex Nwachukwu came on.

Nick Murphy found himself through on goal, but his shot hit Fradd’s legs, and it proved a costly miss.

Darwen were awarded a direct free kick 25 yards from goal, and this was struck past the unsighted Woodhead by Steele.

Woodhead made another point-blank save from Steele, but Steele wasn’t to be denied, as he pounced on a loose ball in the area to put Darwen ahead for the first time.

There was time to salvage something, and Nick Murphy forced Fradd into a fine diving save, while Barski was inches away from reaching the rebound. But the Blues were unable to force an equaliser.