THE last kick of Highbury Avenue's season put the boot into Fleetwood Town's play-off hopes.
Total silence descended on the ground when relegated Mossley struck with the night's final move to consign Fleetwood to a second season in the Unibond League premier division planning for the Conference North.
Mossley couldn't be begrudged something tangible as Fleetwood rued how they've blown it on the run-in by losing at home to two of the teams heading down into the Unibond first. Radcliffe floored them 3-0 a fortnight ago.
Matlock's home win last night put a top-five finish beyond Fleetwood with just Saturday to come but as one of the best eight teams, the foundations are there for a sustained push next time.
It was as though everybody accepted the play-offs were a distant goal. The crowd of 565 was muted and for much of the time Fleetwood played with the resignation of realising they were dependent on other results.
Around 400 spectators had departed by the time manager Tony Greenwood's men did a lap of honour with the League Cup they lifted last week. The sight of that was testimony to a successful season, in which the vast majority of people would have settled for consolidation.
Mossley were unfortunate to lose the home fixture on Good Friday by the same scoreline so there was retribution when Clive Moyo-Modise caught Fleetwood off guard at a freekick in added time to redeem himself for missing a penalty in the first match.
His goal completed what had developed into a pretty entertaining end-to-end tussle, which had started with Fleetwood fluffing chances and continued with the visitors twice hitting the bar.
Andy Bell shot weakly straight at goalkeeper Steve Wilson in the 10th minute when sent clear by Jamie Milligan, whose passing sparked most attacks.
Mossley played with a carefree abandon that comes with being doomed to the drop and Fleetwood didn't get behind their defence ever again. Bell's intelligent running posed a first-half menace, but this receded after the interval when Fleetwood resorted to pumping long balls.
Michael Brown lobbed over from far out on 22 minutes when Wilson legged it from his area to challenge Bell for a ball, which dropped loose.
Towards half-time Mossley hinted they were ready to match Fleetwood move for move when industrious little frontman Joe Shaw twice stretched goalkeeper Mike Hale, first with a header from a freekick and then direct from a freekick.
For 20 minutes in the second half Fleetwood tried to take a grip and Ricky Mercer flashed a header over from a corner by Milligan, who followed with a freekick from which Pond's header was agilely saved.
Mossley's response was to hit the bar twice in three minutes. First Hale was flat-footed when skipper Melford Knight powered from his own half to unleash a deceptive dipper, then Moyo-Modise was denied with a close-range header.
Martin Moran produced a tremendous saving tackle on Shaw following Mercer's mistake but minutes later he tripped Moyo-Modise just outside the box as the striker skipped round him into the clear. Shaw barely gave the referee time to re-pocket the yellow card before prodding the freekick forward for the quick-thinking Moyo-Modise to fire across Hale into the far corner.