UNITED won for the first time on the season's opening day since slipping into the North West Counties League on Saturday.
Much fancied for promotion themselves, they needed a gutsy display to shake off another side with designs on a top-two finish.
Victory might have been a lot more straightforward but for an astonishing decision by the referee and an assistant just before the break.
Rob Hanley's shot on the turn clearly soared into the top corner of the net, hit the rear stanchion and bounced back into play.
But the officials must have blinked and they decided the ball had hit the crossbar.
The visitors chuckled, home fans were blazing, but the setback gave Winsford a purpose when they set out on the second half.
The front row pairing of Rob Hanley and Rick Arnold had the visitors' defence constantly on their toes and skilful runs by Chris Melia and Stuart Wellstead had created several first half openings.
However, Winsford were facing a team that could launch rapier-like attacks from within their own half so the back four had to be constantly alert.
Craig Robinson made an impressive debut at full back and the central pairing of Dave Chambers and Neil Marsh were able to cut out nearly all the attacks.
The few that did get through were competently dealt with by new custodian Michael Langley.
Wellstead was the first to create problems for the visitors with a strong run down the left but it was Nelson who nearly took an 11th minute lead when Paul Barrett found himself clear but his shot was just wide of the left post.
The action was fairly evenly divided for most of the first half with Arnold and Wellstead sharing chances with Michael Holt and James Coonan for the visitors.
Winsford took control of the game when last season's 24-goal man Melia began to create chances and it was his good work on the right
that led to the first goal on 70 minutes when his cross was firmly headed home by Marsh.
Nelson keeper Billy Carrington got a hand to it but was unable to prevent it entering the bottom right corner of the net.
Winsford doubled their lead just two minutes later when a linesman spotted Paul Carrington hold-
ing back Hanley by his shirt as a corner was being taken and Melia made no mistake from the spot.
Nelson pushed more men forward in the closing minutes but the nearest they came to scoring was in injury time when a double save by Langley and a clearance by Steve Moss kept the ball out.