Eccleshall FC 2 Nelson 1
By Richard Farrington
Late Lewis Winner
Eccleshall progressed to the last sixteen of the Hallmark Security Division One Challenge Cup with an injury time winner from substitute James Lewis.
Eccleshall manager Nick Farrington gave Oliver Putnam his full debut, whilst Billy Johnson, Lewis Dunn and Tom Wakefield were all handed starts, Louis Downs, Matt Quimby and Jake Standbridge missed the tie due to injury.
Nelson had a couple of efforts in the opening minutes, though on neither occasion was keeper Owen Wyatt called into action.
On the fifthteen minute a ball over the Eccleshall back line was headed back to Wyatt by Joe Griffiths, but as Wyatt came out to collect the ball he collided with Griffiths, resulting in the young centre back being taken to hospital suffering from concussion. Liam Baker-Haynes came on at right back and skipper Harvey Collins moved alongside Billy Johnson at centre back.
On the twentieth minute mark Izaac Walsh sent leading scorer Dan Needham through on goal, his effort came back of the goalkeeper into the path of Oliver Putnam whose shot rebounded to Tom Wakefield and at the third time of asking, Eccleshall had the lead.
Nelson caused the home side problems with long throws and crosses into the box, but Wyatt, Collins and Johnson did well to thwart the danger. Wyatt then did well to hold onto a free kick as a visiting attacker looked for the rebound.
HT. Eccleshall FC 1 Nelson 0
Nelson had the better start to the second period without forcing Wyatt into action and Eccleshall lost further momentum on the hour mark when a crude challenge on Dan Needham ended his afternoon early.
James Lewis replaced Needham and just after the hour the impressive Oliver Putnam made way for Christoph Aziamale.
With eighteen minutes remaining, Nelson levelled the tie, a free kick on the right side of the box beat Wyatt at his near post.
The game now went end to end as both sides looked for the winner, Wakefield, Aziamale and Walsh had shots off target and Lewis Dunn did incredibly well to clear off the Eccleshall goal line. Dunn then linked up well with Aziamale, but again the striker was wide of the target.
Just as the game was heading for penalties, a corner from the left wing, swung in by Brad Carr was met at the back post by Lewis, his downward header gave the keeper no chance.
Eccleshall travel to Wolverhampton on Tuesday for a Staffordshire Senior Cup tie against Sporting Khalsa with an ever-growing injury list. Downs, Standbridge, Quimby and Needham will all miss the game, though there was better news for Griffiths as he was given the all clear.
FT. Eccleshall FC 2 Nelson 1
Eccleshall – Wyatt, Collins ©, Dunn, Griffiths ( Baker-Haynes ), Johnson, Feeney, Walsh I, Carr, Needham ( Lewis ), Wakefield, Putnam ( Aziamale ), Subs not used – Ahmadi and Walsh L