Three Rossendale goals in the final third of the game ensured that Mossley had an Easter to forget as they crashed to their second defeat of the holiday weekend.
That the game was able to go ahead was due in no small part to the tireless dedication of a group of supporters who’d spent the hours in the lead up to the kick-off clearing a thick layer of snow off the Seel Park playing surface. As to whether or not they believed their efforts had been worth it by 4:45pm is only something they themselves will be able to answer.
From the first whistle onwards the match had a definite end of season air to it, albeit a month or so too early, with neither side ever looking like troubling the score line. Given the heavy nature of the pitch this was perhaps to be expected but it was still poor fare for the supporters watching from the terraces. And that’s how it remained until the one incident of note in an otherwise forgettable half handed Mossley the lead.
In the 37th minute a left wing cross by Danny Ryan turned in to a shot in mid-flight and hit the angle of post and crossbar. In the race for the loose ball as it bounced back off the framework, former Mossley keeper Lee Bracey lost out to David Boardman by a fraction of a second and as a consequence sent the home sides forward tumbling to the ground. The referee had no option other than to award the Lilywhites a penalty which Lee Connor duly, and coolly, converted.
The start of the second period saw a marginal improvement in the entertainment stakes with both teams flashing shots wide of the uprights and Gareth Hamlet drawing a save out of Bracey. After that initial flurry of ‘excitement’ though the game reverted to how it had been for the majority of the first forty five minutes and Mossley looked to be heading for a dull but most welcome victory.
At least they were until the 71st minute when Dean Johnson surrendered possession cheaply on the halfway line and set in motion a Rossendale move that ended with substitute Lloyd stabbing the ball home from close range. And five minutes later the game was turned completely on its head when Eastwood took full advantage of being left unmarked in the box to fire the Stags in front.
Having gone from looking the odds on winners to likely losers, Mossley began to throw more players into attack in an effort to salvage the game, and four minutes from time it was another substitute, Edgington, who exploited the lack of numbers in the Lilywhites defence to run half the length of the pitch and add a third goal to his teams total. And had it not been for an astonishingly poor miss in injury time by one of Rossendale’s goal scorers, Mossley would have been on the receiving end of their second 4 – 1 reversal in the space of four days.
Having taken just five points from the last possible forty two and with relegation looking increasingly unlikely, the end of the season (and the chance to start building for the next) can’t come soon enough for the Lilywhites.
Report by SJNR
pics by Garry Hadfield