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Nelson FC lose in opening match of the season
5:00pm Tuesday 20th August 2013 in Sport
Sam Heap’s Nelson FC Development Squad started their Lancashire League East Division campaign with a visit from Yorkshire rivals AFC Emley, whose first team play in the Toolstation NCEL Division One.
Strike star Heap, who has taken over the running of the Nelson development set-up this season, is building a young side for the future at Victoria Park and his men were forced onto the back foot in the early stages.
They had barely had the ball out of their own half when the visitors took a fourth minute lead. Connor Tuff’s free-kick was pinged in for Jonathan Irving to get on the end of with a cool finish.
It could have got worse for Nelson when Matthew Sykes struck the outside of the post, while Nelson’s first threat going forward saw Adam Lawler smartly off his line to deny Paddy Furey.
The Admirals were beginning to get a foothold on the game but they had Alex Palfy to thank for keeping out Danny Kaye in the 20th minute.
Four minutes later Lawler denied James Leech before the main talking point of the match.
Mohammed Nabeel set off on a great run that saw him clear through on goal before being taken down by a clumsy challenge from Sykes inside the area.
The referee not only awarded the penalty but also showed Sykes the red card.
Mullan coolly stepped up to convert the spot-kick with ease.
For a while Emley were on the back foot and Furey was denied by Lawler at his near post before the visting stopper produced an even better save to keep out a looping effort from Sam Wixted.
It was against the run of play, then, when Emley regained the lead.
Palfy failed to call for a ball that was his to be claimed and instead the ball was only half cleared to Jack Storrie, who powered home the loose ball.
Things got even worse for Nelson just a minute later when the 10 men went 3-1 up after Tom Rose found himself unmarked with time and space to beat Palfy.
The second half commenced with Louis Percival testing Lawler as the Admirals tried to get back in the match.
However, AFC Emley were still a threat going forwards and after Palfy had kept out Curtis Roberts effort he was powerless to prevent Storrie adding his second and Emley’s fourth.
On 65 minutes Lloyd’s speculative effort almost caught out Lawler in the wet conditions while four minutes later substitute Imran Khan went close from distance.
An amazing 35 yard pile driver from Furey produced a top drawer save from Lawler and from the resulting corner Khan fired inches wide.
With a quarter to go Khan’s excellent cross from the left was met at the far post by Perry Jepson but again the target was missed.
With eight minutes to go Mullan, who had been the target of a series of rash challenges, was once again hauled to the ground by Ingham.
This time he dusted himself down to take the kick and buried it into the bottom corner of the net from 30 yards to complete an excellent night for the diminutive striker.
There was still time for Nelson to threaten again before the final whistle but in truth the game had been won and lost in those two moments of madness just before half-time.
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