Following a drab opening which saw the ball ping-pong between the two penalty areas, the ennui that was beginning to envelop the supporters on the terraces suddenly appeared to spread to the Mossley defence. A hit and hope ball from one of the Garforth centre halves caught full back Nicky Thompson napping, allowing the man he should have been marking, Jason St Juste, to cut in from the wing and shoot across Ashley Connor to give them the lead after twenty minutes.
Seven minutes from the break the same player was once again the beneficiary of Mossley's gift giving. Taking advantage of a huge gap in Mossley's back line left by out of position players following a badly worked throw-in, the whippet like number 11 ran three quarters of the length of the pitch with no one in pursuit. His good fortune didn't end there either as his sliced attempt at a cross turned into a shot that arced over a stranded Ashley Connor and dropped into the net at the far post.
With Garforth more than happy to sit back and defend the lead, gained through what would be their only two shots on goal in the entire match, by fair means and foul, Mossley struggled to make any headway at all, and with a little under a quarter of it left to play, all they'd managed in response was an effort apiece from Michael Fish and Lee Blackshaw.
The good thing about football though is that the complexion of games can change in an instant and that's what happened in the 72 nd minute. Fish's cross from a corner was met eight yards out by the head of substitute Jamie Miller and the former Radcliffe striker powered the ball past a host of bodies and into the net. Not only did it end Mossley's six hour plus goal drought but, more importantly, it gave them a belief that the game wasn't beyond rescuing.
Coupled with some much needed variety to their attacking play, Mossley started to push Town further and further back towards their own goal line and the chances started to arrive with increasing regularity.
Despite the constant pressure being exerted though, and the bombardment of shots keeper Karl Spratt was having deal with, it all appeared to be a matter of too little too late. That was until, in injury time, Mossley got the stroke of luck that had been otherwise noticeable by its absence throughout the game. As the ball pinballed around the area during one of the many scrambles that occurred in the latter stages of the game, it bounced off the surface and struck Town full back Milton Turner on the hand. Instinctively appeals went up for a penalty and the referee duly obliged by pointing to the spot.
It was, from my viewpoint, something of a harsh decision but it more than made up the penalty Mossley should have been awarded in the first half when Gareth Hamlet's attempted cross was blocked by the outstretched arm of Nathan Kamara. The obviousness of the illegality that had taken place was so great that even some of the visiting players stopped in expectation of the referee's whistle, but on a day when the rub of the green tended to favour the away side when it came to decisions, the appeals were waved away by the man in the middle.
It was with some trepidation that the home supporters awaited the spot kick, not having seen their side score from one in twelve months; a year that has also encompassed five successive failed attempts. It all proved to be unnecessary worry though as Mossley's new centre forward Danny Toronczak calmly sent Spratt the wrong way and rolled the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
The drama was by no means over as twice in a matter of seconds on Mossley's very next attack, Garforth were guilty of two considerably more blatant handballs as they literally juggled the ball out of danger. This time however, neither was given; the balance of luck having tipped favourably back towards the visitors. In the final minute of time added on Lee Connor had a shot blocked on the line and Toronczak came close to making the perfect debut but his header, with seconds to spare, was clung onto by a grateful Spratt.
Mossley's fight back may not quite have had the fairy tale ending of three points but the one they did win was well earned, particularly as for a long period the match looked something of a lost cause. Nevertheless, it does leave you wondering what would have happened if that spirit and desire shown in the latter stages had been burning just as brightly from the start.
report by SJNR
Lee Blackshaw's too tricky!
Jamie Miller climbs high
Danny Toronczak celebrates Jamie Miller's goal
Lee Connor goes close
Mike Fish is thwarted
A successful penalty appeal
Danny Toronczak prepares the spot kick . . .
. . . steps up to take it . . .
. . . and calmly slots it home!
Danny Toronzak on his Mossley debut
Jamie Miller back from injury
Mossleyweb (and Sponsors) "Man of the Match" Martin Allison
pics by Garry Hadfield