Nelson downed by controversial decision as Congleton hit the spot to claim victory

Nelson FC boss Paul Fildes (left)
Nelson FC boss Paul Fildes (left)
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Nelson were condemned to their fourth defeat in seven outings in the North West Counties Premier Division when Congleton Town left Victoria Park with maximum points on Saturday.

The blustery conditions proved problematic, and Admirals’ goalkeeper Sean Davis was almost caught out in the early stages when failing to keep hold of a cross. However, he was rescued by his defender on the line.

The home side’s best chance of the half arrived just before the quarter-of-an-hour mark when Stephen Whitley, at full stretch, met Jack Hartley’s superb delivery but Dominic Kurasik was equal to the attempt.

After Davis saved with his feet to deny Town’s Brian Matthews, the turning point of the game arrived as the visitors were awarded a penalty.

An unfortunate bounce off the turf diverted the ball against the arm of full back Ash Brierley and, inexplicably, the referee deemed the handball to be deliberate.

Matthews ignored the protests and converted from the spot to make it 1-0 just before the half-hour.

The away side almost doubled their advantage just before the interval when Matthews turned provider, but Scott McGowan’s effort from the edge of the box whistled over the bar.

In the second half the Blues forced a number of half chances but rarely threatened Kurasik as both Hartley and Evans fired speculative drives over.

Evans was then in the thick of the action again when his looping header from another Hartley centre just cleared the woodwork.

Town were denied a second when the hosts came out on top following a goalmouth scramble while Scott McGowan shaped an effort just wide of the upright in the 77th minute.

Town did have the ball in the net with 10 minutes of normal time remaining but the effort was chalked off as the linesman raised his flag to signal offside.

Nelson travel to the Barton Stadium tomorrow to take on Winsford United with kick-off at 3 p.m.