In the run-up to this match Chorley and Mossley had gone a combined total of twelve games without a win and straight from the kick-off it was easy to see why. Despite a good playing surface and some decent weather both teams struggled to get any kind of momentum going and, but for a shot by former Mossley forward Steve Burke that flew over the bar, there was little to nothing in the way of drama.
That changed in the 14th minute when, with what was to prove to be a rare moment of quality from the visitors on the night, Mossley opened up the home side with their first real attack as Leon Henry and Paul Quinn combined to send Michael Fish into the box. The move was brought to a sudden and clattering conclusion when Fish was upended by an extremely rash challenge (and a needless one at that as the ball was running off for a goal kick) by Paul Collinge which gave Mossley the opportunity to take the lead from the penalty spot. And they did; Martin Allison calmly dispatching the ball into the net.
Ten minutes and one long distance effort by Allison later, Fish was only centimetres away from connecting with a right wing cross that had he reached, would almost have certainly doubled Mossley's lead. Instead though it proved to be the visitors last real threat as an attacking force and less than sixty seconds later Chorley were level.
Not for the first time (and certainly not the last) Mossley meekly surrendered possession in the middle of the park and set in motion Chorley's equaliser. Two passes later the ball was at the feet of Burke and the combination of speed and being a good three yards offside took him away from the Mossley defence and around Ashley Connor before he rolled the ball between the posts.
The game then returned to its pre-goals state of error strewn play, broken up by the occasional half chance and low key appeals for free kicks, before springing into life once again as the interval approached The flurry of activity began when a deep cross from the left by Leon Henry turned into a shot mid-flight that had Collinge back-pedalling furiously before the cross bar came to his rescue.
Sadly it proved not to be the final action of the half. After the ball had rebounded back off the woodwork, Chorley broke quickly up field and won a corner that Mossley looked to have dealt with in clearing it towards the halfway line. Back the ball came though and with Mossley looking like they were in the middle of game of musical statues than football, Nolan ran unchallenged through a crowd of tangerine shirts before squaring it to Burke who slotted the ball past Connor.
And being perfectly honest, it was a lead that they never once looked like relinquishing throughout the remainder of the game. The only question seemed to be how many they'd add as the second half became almost exclusively one way traffic in the direction of the Mossley goal. In fact if it wasn't for some poor marksmanship and good saves by Connor, Chorley could have had the game wrapped up long before the hour mark had been reached.
Whilst Mossley's recent performances have been, let's say, 'poor' it's hard to get away from the fact that a contributing factor has been the extraordinary number of injuries we've picked up recently, with Richard Conway and David Boardman becoming the latest to join the ever growing band of walking and limping wounded. So much so in fact that keeper John Paul Lewis was named as one of the substitutes and a fortuitous selection it turned out to be when Ashley Connor was forced to leave the field midway through the second half after picking up a knock.
Despite an anxious opening few minutes to his first appearance in a Mossley shirt, Lewis soon settled into the role and produced a string of saves that preserved the Lilywhites faint (going on invisible) hopes of taking something from the game. His first was a full length stop to deny Nolan from firing in at an angle but his second was breathtaking - not only managing to stop Burke's close range effort with one hand when a goal looked the inevitable outcome, but also turning it away for a corner as well instead of into the path of incoming
Lewis also played his part five minutes later in once again stopping Burke from claiming his hat-trick. As the Chorley number 10 galloped clear of the visitors back line and into a 1-on-1 situation with the keeper, Lewis spread himself enough to force Burke too wide to fire off a shot and then recovered to drop on the ball as it made its way back across the area.
It was becoming increasingly clear that it would need something special to beat him and that's just what happened with six minutes left. Another sloppy pass allowed the Magpies to move forward and from a wide position Brookes floated the ball over Lewis's head and into the net to finally put Mossley out of their misery and, in doing so, heap more on them.
Report by SJNR
Pics by Smiffy