AFTER successive victories, Nelson were brought back down to earth with a bang on Tuesday night as they were thrashed 5-1 by promotion hopefuls Abbey Hey.
Manager Mark Fell was forced to shuffle his pack once more with the absence of Danny Johnson, which saw Adam Stockdale and Matt Fearon drafted into the back four, while Nat Taylor was given the nod in attack.
The hosts were quickly out of the blocks and Alex Byrne fired the first chance of the game wide of Worrell’s goal.
However, the home side forced the breakthrough as early as the ninth minute when Sam Jones pounced following a goalmouth scramble to make it 1-0.
Minutes later Worrell came to the Blues’ rescue with a superb fingertip save which momentarily galvanised the visitors as they levelled proceedings. A poor challenge on Brandon Barski led to a trademark inswinging free-kick from Chris Turner which was converted at the back post by Adnan Ahmed.
But barely a minute later that work was undone when a fumble from the usually reliable Worrell saw Jones accept the gift to restore the home side’s lead.
Ahmed went close again when his chip over McIlwaine just cleared the bar after the Abbey Hey stopper had foiled Barski when one-on-one.
Jones then missed out on his hat-trick when he fired wide of the post with just Worrell to beat. The hosts were slowly dominating as the first half came to a close with midfield pairing Turner and Ahmed, who had bossed the previous outing, strangely out of touch.
Abbey Hey weathered an early storm from the Blues after the interval with Barski and Ashley Higgins threatening to equalise but Nelson soon found themselves climbing a two-goal deficit as Martin Pilkington raced clear, rounded Worrell and scored from the narrowest of angles.
Soon after Jones claimed the match ball with his third goal when reacting the quickest to a header that had cannoned back off the crossbar. Then, another uncharacteristic error from Worrell presented Jones with his fourth goal of the fixture to make it 5-1 to Abbey Hey.
Darren McKenzie went close to reducing the arrears when turning sharply inside the area only to see his effort tipped around the post by McIlwaine.
Nelson had followed up their 3-1 triumph over Cheadle Town last week with a 1-0 victory over Oldham Borough at Victoria Park on Saturday.
The first chance of the afternoon fell to Ahmed, but his attempt to lob the keeper lacked height and goalkeeper Gareth Fleming gathered easily.
At the other end Blues stopper Worrell was called in to action and prevented the visitors from taking the lead when superbly thwarting Darren Scanlon’s one-on-one opportunity.
Higgins watched his speculative attempt float wide in Nelson’s next attack, before Ahmed’s free kick was tipped around the post by Fleming following Turner’s 60-yard surge up field.
And as the first half came to a close both sides created openings. James Curley broke clear for the away side but drilled wide of the post while Higgins’ snap shot flashed narrowly wide.
Blues skipper Turner, who had returned from suspension for the fixture, replacing Liam Hutchinson, continued to be at the heart of Nelson’s invention and craft, carving several openings for the hosts.
Another Ahmed free-kick failed to trouble Fleming as Barski was grounded and the Pakistan international shot straight at the keeper with his next sight of goal.
The breakthrough arrived just after the hour when man of the match Turner swung in a cross from the right and in a desperate attempt to clear Richard Botchey headed spectacularly in to his own goal to give the Blues the lead.
But that prompted a response from Borough and they threatened immediately when a lofted free-kick was headed against the crossbar before the Blues defence hacked the ball to safety.
As the clock ticked down, Fell urged his side to keep the ball from the sidelines, and the tactic paid off as the visitors failed to have a say as Nelson dominated possession and took maximum points.
The Blues will look to bounce back from Tuesday’s loss tomorrow when they host Atherton Collieries at Victoria Park, kick-off 2 p.m.