Mossley's search for their first win since the final Saturday of 2007 will continue into its third calendar month after the Lilywhites, for the second time in February, returned home from a fixture against a side that had just dismissed its manager with no points and three goals in the against column.
Even taking into account the recent upheaval on the sidelines at Bradford Park Avenue, this was always going to be a difficult test for the team from the western side of the Pennines and so it proved.
That said, despite the first chance of the match falling to the home side with less than sixty seconds gone, it was the visitors who provided the game with its first spell of concerted pressure. Some neat interplay in the opening ten minutes led to Gareth Hamlet firing wide of the upright and efforts from Lee Blackshaw and David Boardman taking similar routes past the target.
Unfortunately it was a passage of play that Mossley could neither sustain nor repeat. Whilst it's true that Mossley did have lengthy spells of possession throughout the remainder of the game, the failure to create even half-chances with it, let alone shots on target, meant that ex-Lilywhites keeper Jon Worsnop had little to do while stood between Bradford's posts.
However it was the Lilywhites who almost opened the scoring when Dean Johnson's errant back pass had Ashley Connor scrambling across his goal line in order to prevent the centre half from having the initials O.G. next to his name on the score sheet. The Mossley keeper was powerless though to stop Bradford taking the lead in the 24 th minute; Lincoln Adams outpacing the visiting defence before firing past Connor from the edge of the penalty area.
The killer second goal arrived less than a minute before the interval and not without its share of controversy. The linesman had stood signalling that a Bradford player was offside for nearly fifteen seconds when the referee gave the home side a soft free-kick; a decision that initially had the Avenue players retreating back to their own half in the belief it had been given against them.
Whilst the circumstances surrounding the awarding of the free-kick can best be described as contentious, the was no denying the quality of Nathan Wharton's execution of the set-piece; the former Stalybridge and Hyde midfielder bending the ball over the wall and beyond the reach of Ashley Connor from 25 yards .
The second half offered little different from the first with Mossley making heavy work of threatening Bradford 's goal whilst some poor finishing, good goalkeeping and a succession of block tackles prevented the home side from posting a score that wouldn't have looked too out of place at the nearby Grattan Stadium , home of the Bradford Bulls.
With a little over quarter of an hour remaining Avenue did manage to find the back of the net once more though it had a healthy dollop of fortuity about it; Leon Henry's attempts to block Ross Clegg's shot altering the trajectory just enough to take it over Ashley Connor's dive and into the net.
Mossley return to Yorkshire next week for an equally tough looking fixture at Wakefield and unless they can rediscover their early season form and lose the indecision when in front of their opponent's goal, that long sought first victory of 2008 is going to be later rather than sooner in coming.
Report by SJNR
pics by Garry Hadfield