Nelson’s struggles continue

Jerome Matthews
Jerome Matthews

IT’S been another impoverished week in terms of points for Nelson Football Club.

The Blues have accumulated just two points from seven First Division fixtures of late, with the latest stalemate coming at the New Sirs Ground against Daisy Hill.

Paul Paynter’s side were 2-0 down within 17 minutes through Craig Xuereb’s double, but Jerome Matthews (pictured) replied almost instantly before Jonti McDonald equalised before half-time.

Neither side could find a breakthrough after the interval and had to settle for a share of the spoils.

And Lee Talbot, Thomas Fogg, Paul Rutter (2) and Leroy Chakanyuka were all on target as Norton United crushed Nelson at Community Drive.

The win moved Scott Dundas’s side to within nine points of leaders Wigan Robin Park though United have five games in hand in the title chase.

Meanwhile, the Blues experienced similar fortune on home soil as they lost 3-0 to Rochdale Town at Lomeshaye Way’s Little Wembley.

Nelson fell behind after just three minutes as they were caught cold by Kristian Evans’ strike.

Undeterred, the Blues pressed for a leveller but Gareth Fleming comfortably gathered Liam Hutchinson’s effort.

After a lengthy stoppage caused by an injury to the referee, which eventually forced the senior linesman to take over, Jason Hill blazed over for the visitors.

Nelson continued to push forward but struggled to test Fleming who was once again equal to a tame shot from Azeem Hafeji.

Matthews later had two superb opportunities to draw Nelson level; clearing the bar with a chipped effort in the first instance before stinging the legs of Fleming from close range moments later after latching on to Craig Boothby’s piercing pass.

Again it was the Blues who looked the more likely to score, and they went agonisingly close when Lee Botham’s downward header from Nasir Hussain’s corner was headed off the line with Fleming well beaten.

After the interval Nelson failed to gather similar momentum and they paid the price when a lofted cross evaded Nathan Worrell and was prodded home at the far post by Nick Hodson in the 48th minute.

The Blues had a proverbial mountain to climb, but the deficit was almost halved when Javeed Mohammed robbed a defender by the touchline and his centre was met by Boothby whose goalbound drive was blocked by Josh Clegg.

Matthews again could and should have etched his name on the scoresheet yet again but his snapshot flew over the bar before being denied when one-on-one with Fleming.

Nelson’s profligacy cost them dearly and as play swung, with the away side enjoying a period of sustained pressure, Evans struck past Worrell by his right hand post.

Paul Sells found the side-netting for the Blues in the closing stages but it proved to be another dull afternoon.