With the unofficial news last week that there will be no relegation from the Unibond First Division North due to Newcastle Blue Star's decision to withdraw from the league, the possibility of Mossley's season going from bad to catastrophic looks unlikely to come to fruition.
It still however remains on course to go from bad to worse to even worse; the latest stop on that journey being a crushing 4 - 0 defeat at home to the team immediately above them in the table. A scoreline that Mossley could have no complaints about even if Harrogate's winning margin had been double what it was at the end of the match.
The visitors first goal in the 20th minute came as little surprise as they'd spent the majority of the preceding 19 minutes peppering the Park End goal Mossley were defending with shots. A move down Mossley's right hand side looked to have come to nothing when two Harrogate players got in each others way attempting to control ball. With no challenges forthcoming from the home defence though, they were able to untangle themselves and Carl Fox was allowed the time to turn on the edge of the box and fire a shot past Ashley Connor.
Mossley finally managed to break the almost incessant cycle of Harrogate attacks just after the half hour mark and with their one notable move of the half they put the ball in the back of their opponents net. Unfortunately the finishing touch applied by Gareth Hamlet was done so from an offside position, and with the goal ruled out 'normal service' resumed.
Just when it looked though like Mossley would make it to the interval only a goal in arrears, Railway doubled their lead. In the final minute of the half Scott Ryan took advantage of the inordinate being afforded to him to cut in from the left hand touchline and slip the ball under Connor. There was still time left in the half as well for Harrogate themselves to have a goal ruled out for offside.
The terraces weren't awash with much optimism at the start of the second period that Mossley could claw their way back into the game. What little there was though was pinned on the hope that with the wind at their backs, the Lilywhites would pose more of a threat as an attacking force. And whilst it's true to say that they enjoyed more possession than they had done in the opening half, there was little constructive done with it. In fact it wasn't until the 67th minute that Harrogate's keeper into action for the first time, Tom Morgan dropping low to his right to keep out a header from David Boardman.
Harrogate's response was to almost immediately break up field and with little in the way of a defence to stop him, Matthew James killed off Mossley's lingering hopes of salvaging anything from the match by netting his sides third.
Bizarrely this appeared to be the cue for Mossley to embark on their best spell of the game and for the first time in the match they actually made their opponents sweat a little. Lee Blackshaw almost pulled a goal back with a terrific shot that hammered off the underside of the cross bar and a long range effort by Leon Henry was plucked out of the air by Morgan. The brief attempt at a revival came to an end when Harrogate once again caught Mossley flat footed at the back and a strike from substitute Chris Rosindale took his sides total to four and the number of goals conceded by the Lilywhites in all competitions this season into three figures.
The remainder of the game was almost exclusively played out in the Mossley half of the field and if not for some more fine saves by Connor and a goal line clearance by Danny Ryan, the eventual result would have been even more emphatic.
Apart from the continued efforts of a few players and the return to action of Paul Garvey after a long injury lay off, the only positive to be taken from the game, other than that the margin of defeat being only four goals, is that what has been a wretched second half of the season is ninety minutes nearer finishing.
Report by SJNR
Pics by Garry Hadfield