Just over two hours after Manchester City had seen off Newcastle United at Eastlands in the Premiership, Mossley sent the Geordies non-league neighbours Blue Star back home to the north-east equally empty handed.
The first five minutes were spent almost exclusively in the Mossley half of the pitch and but for two saves from Ashley Connor and a goal line clearance from Gareth Hamlet, the Lilywhites could have been looking at a real uphill battle over the course of the remaining 85 minutes.
Instead it was Mossley themselves that took the lead in the sixth minute. Blue Star keeper Dan Lowson made a complete hash of a simple clearance and screwed the ball out to the touchline where Paul Quinn was stood. Spotting that Lowson was in no hurry to take up a position closer to his goal, the Mossley winger immediately launched a looping shot from 35 yards that seemed to take forever to drop under the crossbar and put the Lilywhites ahead.
The home side continued to press forward and, assisted by their opponents ridiculously inept interpretation of how to play the offside trap, they carved out further openings. Daryl Weston was inches away from increasing the lead with a powerful drive from distance before Kitson Gayle went agonisingly close to applying the finishing touch to a move that started from the left back position a minute earlier. Then from almost exactly the same spot from which Quinn had scored earlier, Paul Garvey launched another looping shot over the head of a wandering Lowson, only this time the ball dropped into the side netting.
Immediately following the interval both Lee Blackshaw and Gayle went close adding to the Lilywhites total (the latter hitting the crossbar), but the precariousness of Mossley's lead was highlighted when, minutes later, Ashley Connor saved with his feet after a momentary lapse in the home defence allowed Gordon a clear, 45 yard run on goal.
At the midway point of the half Mossley were awarded a penalty when Andrews was deemed, perhaps slightly harshly, to have handled the ball. However, whilst the faces may have changed over the summer, the curse of Mossley's inability to score from penalties remains; Lee Connor becoming the latest in a long line of players in a white shirt to miss from the spot.
In the 70th minute, following an off-the-ball incident that Lowson can count himself incredibly fortunate to have not been shown the red card for, Blue Star broke up field and were the recipients of what can only be described as a 'soft' free-kick. The visitors didn't look their gift horse in the mouth though and Chris Emms flighted the ball over the heads of the Mossley wall and into the top left hand corner of the net.
Last season this sequence of events would have seen Mossley crumble faster than an over-dunked digestive but Mossley 2007/08 are made of stronger stuff (even if the supporters nerves aren't) and within three minutes they were back in front.
Lee Blackshaw was given time and space by, what for the sake of argument we'll call ‘the Newcastle defence’ to control Daryl Weston's lofted through pass. With Lowson having taken up what appeared to be his favoured goalkeeping position of 'stranded in no-man's land', the Mossley winger chipped the ball over his head and into the back of the net.
Almost from the restart Newcastle were an instinctive Ashley Connor save away from levelling again but the more desperate the visitors grew, the greater Mossley's grip on the game tightened and as time ticked away the home team had the chances to make the scoreline more emphatic: Martin Allison headed over from a Richard Conway corner and Blue Star's Andrews pulled some extraordinary contortions on the line to stop Gareth Hamlets close range shot from going in.
The scoreline may say that there was only one goal in it, but everyone who was there knows that the difference was greater than that. This was an extremely impressive performance from Mossley against an allegedly very expensively assembled Newcastle side and the rapturous applause that accompanied their departure from the pitch was fully warranted.
Report by SJNR