This was a day Mossley will quickly need to forget if they are to get back on the promotion course. Hit by the unavailability of Paul Challinor and injury to Christian Cooke, Nicky Thompson and Anthony Bingham it was a bare bones Mossley squad that made the pre Christmas journey to Derbyshire and it was to be an early Christmas present for resurgent Belper Town, who, in the end cruised to victory over a dispirited Mossley side that reacted poorly to some shocking refereeing decisions and allowed themselves to be totally affected by the extraordinary antics of the match officials.
The number of contentious decisions that went Belper’s way ran to over twenty separate incidents with Melford Knight and Jordan Goodeve being particularly unlucky to find their names in the referees notebook.
This is to take nothing away from a Belper side who chased and harried when Mossley were in possession and once two goals ahead against 10 men, raced on to a comfortable victory.
The Nailers applied the early pressure as Mossley struggled to come to terms with a firm surface and a series of long balls out of defence found the Mossley front pairing short of inches to compete on an even footing in a number of one sided aerial duels.
Belper deserved their lead when they opened the scoring on 34 minutes. The home side’s ‘man of the match’ Andy Rushbury planted a firm, but sadly free, header that Bracey got a hand to but could not keep out.
Mossley had a great opportunity to equalise minutes later when Rhodri Giggs pressured an error by keeper and a defender only for Belper’s Pat Lyons to make a remarkable covering tackle as Giggs hesitated following hand ball appeals when it looked certain he would score in an empty net.
Mossley had to improve after the break but instead fell further behind when Mushambi went down under Callum Dempsey’s challenge and the referee awarded a penalty and dismissed the luckless Dempsey in the 56th minute.
Rushbury netted his second from the spot.
With Sam McEwen replacing the injured Lee Bracey shortly after, 10 man Mossley tried to forage a way back into the game. Chris Downey fired over the bar and Goodeve had a pile-driver charged down in rare Mossley attacks and then in the 78th minute after Gummer failed to score an easy chance after Mushambi’s effort had come back off the bar Belper increased their lead to an unassailable advantage. Kelvin Mushambi blasted home from close range after brilliantly controlling a right wing cross.
Mossley’s misery was completed a minute from time when Belper skipper Danny Hudson blasted a screamer into the top corner that gave McEwen no chance.