Nelson’s display from 12 yards out just didn’t hit the spot as the Admirals crashed out of the Lancashire Challenge Trophy on Tuesday.
Defender Charlie Collinge was the only man to hit the back of the net in the penalty shoot-out at Victoria Park as Atherton LR prevailed 4-1.
The tie ended 1-1 after normal time as the Blues clawed back a deficit in the second half.
In heavy rain at Little Wembley, the First Division outfit took the lead in the 26th minute when a moment of hesitancy in the home defence allowed Adam Owen to rifle a shot past Danny Lever.
After Collinge fired a free kick straight at goalkeeper Tom Goodwin, the hosts were reliant on James Wolfenden in keeping the score down as the full back headed an effort off the line with Lever well beaten.
The Blues came out of the blocks after the interval with much more intent and drew level in the 54th minute as Collinge dispatched a penalty.
Nelson’s goalscorer and right back Mark McGroaty both forced Goodwin into fine fingertip saves at full stretch as the hosts looked to turn the game on its head.
But even when the Blues found a way past Goodwin, the woodwork came to the goalkeeper’s rescue with Ben Connolly’s attempt cannoning back off the crossbar.
And Collinge suffered a similar fate in the closing stages of the game as his strike ricocheted off a defender and clipped the bar.
Nelson’s misfortune carried through to the penalty shoot-out as they buckled under the pressure.
Meanwhile, Alex Norwood’s side are still cut adrift in the bottom three of the North West Counties Premier Division as they lost 3-1 to high-flying Runcorn Linnets at the weekend.
The Blues started well and could’ve edged ahead when Josh Dunroe drilled an effort narrowly wide of the target when well-positioned.
The away side continued to press at the Millbank Linnets Stadium and Corey Joe Cook drew a fine save from Tom Hunt at the foot of his post with a beautifully struck set-piece.
The hosts were presented with a great opportunity to open the scoring moments later when they were awarded a penalty but Lever came out on top against his former club when denying captain Kyle Hamid.
However, Hamid made amends for his missed spot kick when converting a free-kick just after the half-hour mark.
Nelson, though, responded immediately and equalised within a minute when a Terry Cummings effort was deflected in to the path of Yves Zama and the Frenchman made no mistake from 10 yards out.
But the visitors failed to hang on until the break as Mark Houghton scored at the second attempt to make it 2-1 after Lever saved the first shot.
Paul Shanley then completed the scoring in the 55th minute as he capitalised on a lack of communication in the Blues’ rearguard to loop a header over Lever.
Nelson entertain Irlam tomorrow with kick-off at 3 p.m.