Nelson 1 St Helens Town 2.

St. Helens Town won their first game since October, when they beat bottom side Nelson 2-1 at Victoria Park on Saturday in a fiery encounter which saw three men sent-off and another three cautioned.

The victory, however, was not enough to move them out of the bottom three in the First Division table, although another win this weekend against next-to-bottom Daisy Hill, coupled with a defeat for Eccleshall against in-form Atherton LR, will be enough to move Town up a place in the division.

Nelson, languishing at the foot of the table, took the lead in the 20th minute, Alex Grice heading home from a corner, across the face of Gage Walsh’s goal, but not until Shaun Brady and Luke Edwards had both wasted good chances by firing straight at Nelson keeper Dean Hardy with the home defence at full stretch.

Walsh saved well from Nathan Gibson’s 20-yard drive, but Brady had a glorious chance to score, only for Hardy to get his foot to the ball to clear the effort and soon after, Brady attacked down the opposite channel, beat the keeper and had plenty of time to take a touch and cross to Tom Grimshaw, but snatched at the ball and lost his footing before he could get in either a pass or a shot on goal.

The teams went in at the interval with Nelson a goal to the good, but Town equalised on 52 minutes through Alex Ashby, who scored directly from a free kick.

The game had been a niggly affair in the opening half and the officials had missed a blatant foul on Luke Edwards, then a shove in the back and two shirt-pulls by Nelson full-back Jack Corcoran, one of which should have produced a penalty and trouble seemed to follow him around for the whole of the second half.

Town went into a 2-1 lead through a Nelson home goal on 69 minutes and Ashby was sent-off for a foul, which induced a mass coming-together by upwards of a dozen players.

Soon afterwards, there were similar scenes at the other end of the pitch and Corcoran threw himself theatrically to the ground in front of the referee, holding his face.

He was booked by the official for simulation, but soon afterwards, he was involved in a serious incident with Liam Dodd who had just come on for Brady.

Corcoran threw an elbow into Dodd’s face, then fell to the ground, Dodd retaliated and was dismissed, but Corcoran got away scot-free as his team-mate Chris Turner was red-carded and the game finished in a 10 v 9 encounter, with the nine men of St. Helens holding on for a much-deserved victory.

St Helens now embark on another run of three consecutive home fixtures on successive Saturdays, Daisy Hill visiting on 9th December, Carlisle City on 16th and Sandbach United on 23rd, all kicking off at 3pm.

Daisy Hill pulled off only their second win of the season last Saturday, thanks to a spectacular 5-1 verdict at New Mills.

Town won 4-3 at The New Sirs in September and then drew 3-3 in the First Division Cup last month at Ruskin Drive, before losing on penalties, so another keen contest is anticipated.

Dodd and Ashby will be suspended for the game and Gage Walsh is returning to Australia shortly.

With Adam Fairchild injured, a short-term goalkeeper signing is required but the return from holiday of skipper Andy Webster for the game at Nelson could not have come at a better time and was perhaps the difference between the sides.