ATHERTON Collieries followed last Tuesday’s unbelieveable 8-6 defeat at Rochdale with another valliant effort – going down 4-2 at league leaders Nelson on Saturday.

With Nelson offering free admission to their final home match of their North West Counties League Division One campaign, there was a healthy crowd in attendance to see two of the league’s heavyweights go head-to-head.

Colls may have dropped to fifth in the table following this defeat, but they looked like strong promotion contenders for the majority of the season.

And Nelson were clearly wary of the threat they posed, starting strongly to go 2-0 up after just 10 minutes.

Peter Wright put them ahead after some poor defending allowed him time and space to compose himself before slotting past Phil Priestley.

And Joseph O’Neill doubled the Admirals’ lead just moments later.

Gareth Peet pulled a goal back for Colls when he curled his free kick into the top corner from the edge of the area on 22 minutes.

But Wright netted from the spot five minutes later to restore the two-goal cushion after Priestley had fouled the striker following a surge into the box.

The visitors looked the better of the two sides in the opening stages of the second period and deservedly cut the deficit through a Peet penalty on 57 minutes.

But Liam Boswell sealed all three points for Nelson in the last attack of the game after rounding the Colls defence and goalkeeper before passing into an empty net.

Hanley Town moved above Colls into fourth place to take the division’s final FA Cup qualifying spot with four games remaining.

Both sides have games in midweek before Colls travel to Hanley on Saturday.

Atherton LR remain in seventh place, level on points and goal difference with Irlam, despite going down 3-0 at high-flyers 1874 Northwich.

Elsewhere, second-bottom Daisy Hill lost 2-1 at bottom side Northwich Flixton Villa.

Scott Winstanley grabbed a consolation goal for Daisy, who are now just two points off the foot of the table.