Mossley's search for their first points of 2008 will continue for at least another week after their visit to Harrogate Railway Athletic's sloping Station View ground ended in a third successive defeat.
And whilst the loss by the odd goal in three doesn't seem too bad on paper, the 2-1 score line does somewhat flatter the Lilywhites.
As has often been the case in recent games, Mossley dominated the early stages of the match. But no matter how good their approach play was (and at times it was very good), the failure to convert that possession into chances and, ultimately, goals would once again prove to be their undoing.
The game flipped on its head just after the midway point of the half when Harrogate's attack, which up till then had been well marshalled by Mossley's defence, suddenly started to pose no end of problems. Combining pace with movement off the ball they began to stretch the visitors back line and as gaps started to appear, the North Yorkshire side set about exploiting them.
In the final twenty minutes of the opening period alone, Harrogate created and squandered enough chances to have won the game three times over: Morgan, Marshall, Haigh, Conway and Ryan (the latter two on more than one occasion) all saw efforts either saved or wastefully fired high and wide of Ashley Connor's goal. Just as it looked though like Mossley were going to make it to the interval having survived their opponents onslaught, a rare error from the Lilywhite's keeper gave Athletic the lead.
There was a minute left on the clock when Ashley Connor appeared to slip on his way to claim Marshall's right wing cross and in doing so, fumbled the ball onto the inrushing Scott Ryan. The Harrogate forward seemed as surprised as anyone as the ball bounced off him but momentum was sufficient enough to propel it into the vacant goal.
Fortune briefly smiled on Mossley at the start of the second half when Harrogate had two good claims for a penalty waived away by the referee, but it did little to dampen their hosts enthusiasm for a second goal. Ashley Connor denied Ryan with a smart save and Fox then somehow failed to double his sides lead despite being practically stood on the goal line when he connected with a cross. His embarrassment will have alleviated a little though when Marshall shot wide of an open goal after taking the ball around Ashley Connor following a one-on-one break.
Little more than a minute later however Athletic effectively put the game beyond their opponents reach. The goal kick that resulted from the previous chance fell straight to the feet of Scott Ryan who was then upended by the Mossley keeper. This time round the official had no other option than to point to the spot, and it was only the speed of James Riordan in getting back to cover that probably stopped Connor from being shown the red card rather than the yellow he was given. It was Ryan himself who took the penalty and despite Connor's best efforts, the ball found the back of the net.
Mossley eventually forced Harrogate's keeper into making his first save of the game with just over quarter of an hour left - Giles twisting in mid air to keep out Michael Fish's header, before Gareth Hamlet found the side netting with a long range shot. This mini spell of pressure however failed to turn into anything more significant and the majority of the remainder of the game was spent stopping the home side from increasing their winning margin.
And that's how it was until the last minute when Hamlet slotted a long throw past Giles from the edge of the box to give Mossley a surprise consolation goal.
So yet another day to forget for the Lilywhites as Harrogate become the latest side to end their own poor run against them. Hopefully Garforth Town can provide a similar service for Mossley next week at Seel Park.
report by SJNR
pics by Garry Hadfield