Peter Wright made his last appearance for Nelson as the Blues crashed out of the FA Vase in extra time against Team Northumbria.
The striker joined from Nantwich in August 2013 and went on to make over 90 appearances for the Admirals scoring 59 goals. Wright was North West Counties top scorer in the 2013/14 season with 38 goals which he followed up with 19 last season in the Premier Division.
But his tenure at Victoria Park ended in defeat after the tie ended in a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes. The Northern League side clipped the bar with a deflected effort as they started in the ascendency before Ben Murdock rattled the upright with a header once picked out by Nicholas Green.
Steven McCarthy then struck the woodwork again for the visitors when thumping a right-footed shot against Ben Woodhead’s near post after cutting infield from the right hand side.
But the away side’s pressure and perseverance finally paid off on the half hour mark when Joel Bradley guided Luke Hannant’s cross past Woodhead from an acute angle. It was a lead that Northumbria took in to the interval.
Nelson raced out of the traps in the second half, coming close when a Richard Mercer header fell agonisingly wide.
Just after the hour mark it was Nelson’s turn to strike the woodwork as Sharples’ cross came back off the bar. The Blues were then gifted an opportunity to level the tie when the referee spotted a handball inside the area.
In form Mark Jackson duly obliged from 12 yards out, slotting low to the goalkeeper’s right hand side to make it 1-1 in the 71st minute.
Northumbria almost restored their lead immediately, but a fantastic reaction save from Woodhead prevented David Dormand’s arrowing header from creeping under the bar.
A 78th minute Mercer header was cleared off the line as Nelson probed for the winner while Murdock was foiled at the opposite end by an excellent stop from Woodhead.
Mark Fell’s men were dealt a huge blow early in extra-time as they were reduced to 10 men following the dismissal of Matt O’Neill who allegedly stamped on an opponent.
And their headache was worsened when Hannant gave the away side the lead in the 104th minute.
Things deteriorated further in the second stanza. Woodhead faced a trip to hospital when concussed following a heavy knock to the head before Jake Lloyd turned in to his own net from McCarthy’s driven cross to compound the misery.