Another cup match, another defeat for Mossley's as their insipid performances in this season's knock-out competitions continued with a one goal defeat at home to British Gas League Midlands Division side Rushall Olympic.
After an opening ten minutes which threatened promising things for the home side (Paul Quinn firing a 30 yard free-kick narrowly over the bar and Richard Conway having a goal bound shot blocked), chances began to grow fewer and farther between as Mossley failed to convert the possession they were dominating into anything that came close to truly testing Olympic keeper Tony Breeden.
It was however considerably more than what the Walsall based side were managing. Content just to hammer the ball as far as possible up the pitch, they rarely threatened Ashley Connor's goal and it wasn't until three minutes before the interval that they managed their first real shot in anger. And that went closer to entering Mossley Park than the net.
Unfortunately for the Lilywhites their opponents began to display a bit more purpose at the start of the second period and but for a wasteful shot by Neil Barnfield after pulling away from his marker, they should have had the lead. Ashley Connor was then called upon to stop Olympic's first on target shot of the game, a weak effort from the edge of the box by Rob Holdcroft, before his opposite number gifted Mossley their best opportunity of the match.
Under the close attentions of no one but his own centre half, Breeden fumbled a straightforward catch from left wing cross. Paul Quinn was the quickest to react as the ball bounced loose but, with more time available than he probably thought, he snatched at his shot and the chance sailed over the goal.
Both sides proceeded to create the occasional half chance but other than a looping shot by Barnfield that bounced on to the top of Mossley's crossbar, none went close troubling either goalkeeper and the game increasingly looked to be heading towards a replay. That changed though with quarter of an hour of the game left. And fittingly for a match short on skill and excitement, the goal, when it did arrive, was borne out of a series of mistakes rather than any moments of sparkling play or great individual technique.
After losing the ball through a piece of sloppy play in Olympic's defensive third of the pitch, Mossley won it back before repeating the error again, this time in midfield. A poor delivery into the Lilywhites penalty area appeared to have averted the possibility of any danger arising but in attempting to control the ball instead of clearing it, James Riordan slipped and possession was turned over to Rushall for the third time in quick succession; Sean Dowdall gratefully accepting the opportunity to hammer the ball into the net on the edge of the six yard box.
Mossley's attempts to salvage something from the game amounted to nothing more than a couple of shots that failed to worry Breeden unnecessarily and as the game slowly ticked towards its conclusion, it was the visitors who should have wrapped things up. That they didn't was a final indictment of the poor quality of the match.
Having forced a corner deep into injury time, Mossley threw everyone into the Rushall box, including keeper Ashley Connor. The opportunity came to nothing but it did allow the visitors to break up field and with an open goal in front of him, Dowdall proceeded to hit the perimeter fencing with a woeful effort from the edge of the penalty box.
Not that he was too despondent as the final whistle that immediately followed it signalled his sides progress to the next round, leaving Mossley ruing another missed opportunity to not only embark on a cup run, but generate some much needed extra revenue as well.
report by SJNR
Rushall clear Richard Conway's effort off the line