Former Darwen man Jonny Hession showed the Salmoners exactly what they were missing with a brace that contributed to a 4-0 demolishion in the East Lancs Derby, sending the Admirals seven points clear at the top of the North West Counties Division 1.
Nelson made two enforced changes from last week’s win at Daisy Hill, with Lydon Hodgkiss and Danny Finch suspended, in came Hession and Lee Botham. And it was the Blues who were out of the traps fastest, the right hand channel partnership of Jake Lloyd and Sakeel Abdullah combining in just the 4th minute to cross for Peter Wright who brought a save out of Stefan Holden in the Darwen goal. But the onslaught continued, with a combination of post and defender keeping out Adnan Ahmed on 14 minutes. Two minutes later Hession latched onto a Wright flick on but he took his shot too early and it slid just past the post.
Darwen’s only real first half chances came in close succession, firstly a free kick from Turner that wasn’t dealt with in the box, leaving Ben Woodhead to rescue the Blues as he collected a tame Steven Lee effort from 4 yards out. Turner then broke down the left but his speculative effort was well wide of the left upright.
Nelson got what their start deserved on 22 minutes, Hession popping up in the box to steer a curling right footed effort through a crowd of players and into the net.
Now the Admirals were really turning the screw and they doubled their lead when Peter Wright scored from the spot after Robert Grimes had been fouled in the area.
Nelson had chances to extend their lead with Wright and Lloyd both going close but the pressure did tell just on the stroke of half time.
And it was Hession again who struck an unstoppable left footed drive into the net from the edge of the area.
Darwen came out fighting in the second half and were much improved.
But despite their increased possession, they failed to force Woodhead into any save of note – although they struck the woodwork in the 70th minute through lively substitute Mark Mullen on 70 minutes.
But the Blues made it 4-0 on the hour to kill off any hopes of a Darwen fightback. Wright playing a neat one-two with Grimes who rounded Holden before slotting into an empty net to seal the points and the derby bragging rights.