On the face of it, Mossley finally managing to arrest a run of four straight defeats with their first point of 2008 doesn't seem too bad. That shine loses a good deal of its lustre though when you realise that but for one late moment of madness, they were just seconds away from claiming all three points on offer.
It may well be a phrase that has been used an awful lot in these reports this season but it applies equally to this game as well: Mossley started the match the brighter of the two teams. Keeping the ball on the floor and attacking with pace down the flanks they continually asked questions of a Radcliffe defence that was not being given any time to settle.
Therefore it was no surprise when Mossley took the lead in the 11th minute with a move started and finished by ex-Boro player, Jamie Miller. Picking a loose ball up on the edge of the centre circle, Miller fed the ball out wide to Daryl Weston and moved into the box where he met the Mossley right back's deep, swinging cross with a header that looped over Radcliffe keeper Phil Priestley and into the net.
From the restart Mossley continued to press for a second goal and but for two good saves by Priestley, they almost certainly would have got it. His first stopped a Michael Fish effort from sneaking in at the near post but his second was better, somehow managing to scramble David Boardman's sweetly struck, 25 yard daisy cutter away to safety.
The Lilywhites however couldn't maintain the pressure. Around the half hour mark their play suddenly started to become ragged and in doing so gave the visiting forwards, with alarming regularity it must be said, more sightings of Ashley Connor's goal than they'd had up to that point.
The Mossley keeper though was more than equal to the tasks being set for him by Boro's strike pairing of Steve Howson and Pat McFadden but he must have breathed a huge sigh of relief, like many others of a Mossley persuasion inside Seel Park, when Howson skied the ball over an open goal in the 36th minute.
Howson's accuracy was significantly better two minutes later when his diving header appeared destined for top corner of the net only for Connor to produce a stunning one handed save to deflect the ball over his crossbar. His sterling effort proved to be in vain though as from the resultant corner kick, Boro centre half Craig Dawson became the latest beneficiary of Mossley's slack marking at crosses as he headed his side level.
Boro's joy was to be short lived though as the home side edged ahead once more on the stroke of half-time. Once again it was another deep cross, this time from the left by Lee Blackshaw, that found the head of Mossley's other forward, Fish, and for the second time in the game Priestley could only watch as the ball sailed over his head and dropped into the goal.
Not for the first time this season Mossley's second half performance was a shadow of their first and but for another long range effort from Boardman, who was also involved in a flowing move with Miller and Fish that had Mike Flynn heading over his own bar under pressure, it unquestionably belonged to the visitors.
On three more occasions corners were to cause problems in the Mossley box. The first was hooked off the line following a scramble, the second bounced slowly along the six yard box needing only the slightest of touches to divert it into the net, whilst the third was headed over an open goal at the far post; Howson once again looking a gift horse in the mouth.
With quarter of an hour left Mossley seemed to have regained their grip on the game as Radcliffe's attacks began to began to dry up, but two substitutions in the last five minutes appeared to disrupt the Lilywhite's shape and once more the visitor's began to turn the screw.
When Dawson shot over from close range it looked like Radcliffe's late rally was going to come to nothing but with time rapidly running out, and only needing to hold possession in the attacking half of the pitch to preserve their lead, Mossley bizarrely began to play a series of increasingly risky and desperate passes back towards their own goal.
They had an air an impending inevitability about them and so it proved when Boro were gifted the ball on the edge of the Mossley box and Howson finally managed to beat Ashley Connor with a low drive into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
It would take the most blinkered of Mossley supporters to begrudge Radcliffe their spoils from this game, but it doesn't lessen the cold hard fact that the Lilywhites (with an improved display from recent games) should have been celebrating putting three more points between themselves and their opponents position at the foot of the table.
Report by SJNR