It's advantage Richmond Athletic as Nelson College stun FC Nelson
FC Nelson coach Paul Brydon is not conceding defeat just yet despite Richmond Athletic now holding a precious four-point advantage with just three games left to play.
FC were stunned 3-1 by a slick Nelson College side at Guppy Park on Saturday, with striker Alex Connor-McClean scoring two goals inside two minutes midway through the second half.
With Richmond beating Motueka 3-1 at Memorial Park, FC's loss undoes all the hard work that went into beating the top of the table side 2-0 in the previous round, a result that trimmed the deficit to just one point.
FC have the easier run in of the two sides, facing Wakefield twice and Nelson Suburbs reserves once, in their final three games of the division one football season, but Brydon knows his team will be relying on other results to go their way to have any chance of clawing their way back into the hunt now.
"It's never over until it's over. We have the bye, Wakefield twice and Suburbs, and they are all winnable games, but we have to rely on other things to happen," Brydon said.
"It's been a difficult week because we haven't been able to train because of the pitches and we couldn't get a gym but I'm not using that as an excuse because we just weren't good enough today."
Connor-McClean is one of the most lethal finishers in the league and Brydon said his defence simply did not mark the striker tight enough.
"I think we let ourselves down. We got back to 1-all and probably should have been leading but then it was just soft defending in the end and we just didn't win our individual battles, and to be fair they played well," he said.
A Nat Payn double and a third by Gavin Peattie saw Richmond home against Motueka, bouncing back from their first defeat of the season. Mauricio Ramone scored a late penalty for the home side.
Meanwhile, continuing the 3-1 theme, Nelson Suburbs reserves beat Wakefield by the same scoreline at Saxton Field courtesy of goals to Brendan Hodgson, Lachlan Brooks and Lucas Hogg.
Points: Richmond Athletic 44, FC Nelson 40, Nelson College 35, Tahuna 30, Wakefield 18, Motueka 17, Nelson Suburbs reserves 14