Nelson were knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup at the first hurdle on Saturday as they lost 2-0 at Bradford side Albion Sports in the Extra Preliminary Round.
It was a tough ask for Akex Norwood’s side against a club who finished eighth in the NCEL Premier Division last season.
Nelson started with summer signings Brad Kay and Connor Elliot, both 18, up front, on the back of two goals apiece in the final friendly at Conwy the previous weekend.
Club captain Brad Knox was fit to start after a foot problem, while former Oldham Athletic keeper Callum O’Neill, who arrived on a short term deal, came in with Jack Little unavailable.
The Blues were up against it after only six minutes, as a positive break and centre was headed home by Omar Habeeb.
And after 18 minutes it was 2-0 as the hosts won possession in midfield and fed Danny Facey – younger brother of former Burnley loan man Delroy – to burst clear and find the corner of the net.
Nelson composed themselves and responded well.
Kay sent a header just over from a corner with the keeper beaten, and Knox – who impressed with Clitheroe last season after leaving Wolves – got a grip of midfield.
But the Admiralswere unable to pull a goal back to give themselves real hope at the interval.
Nelson continued to press in the second half, with Knox continuing to stand out, before he was forced off injured following a late challenge.
Elliot squandered an opening as he looked to create an extra yard, turning down the opportunity to shoot, while the Albion keeper did well to claim a low centre with Nelson players queing up to score.
O’Neill had to make an instinctive stop at the other end to prevent a third goal for the hosts, but the early goals proved enough for Albion.
Nelson could be pleased with their efforts, however and will look to get their North West Counties First Division campaign underway tomorrow in a positive fashion.
Nelson are at Alsager Town tomorrow, before their first home game on Monday night, at home to Carlisle City.
Nelson lined up: O’Neill, Wolfenden, Grogan, Lancaster, Riley, Howarth, Lloyd, Mullen, Knox (c), Kay, Elliot.
Subs used: Marshall, Hutchison, Burrows; not used: Patrick.