There was a distinct case of 'after the lord mayor's show' about proceedings at Seel Park on Saturday as Mossley followed up their battling display against Chorley, and one which saw them register their first victory of 2008, with the kind of performance that had seen them go the ten games prior to it without a win.
Much as they'd done in the meeting between the two sides a fortnight earlier at their Eastmoor Road ground, Wakefield claimed a victory against the Lilywhites with two second half goals. And unlike then when Mossley were somewhat unfortunate not to leave with at least one of the points on offer, this time round the Yorkshire side deserved their spoils, even if the goals that won it did have a stroke of fortune about them.
The first half was a monumentally dull affair - the epitome of a dour, midfield battle and but for two superb saves by Mossley keeper Ashley Connor, it wouldn't be worth mentioning at all. His first stopped Chris Hitchings from putting Wakefield ahead quarter of an hour into the game and his second, twenty minutes later, left Graham Marchant slack jawed in wonderment at how he'd managed to divert his attempt, that looked destined to drop into the net, over the bar.
The home sides efforts at drawing similar heroics out of Connor's opposite number, Andy Woods, amounted to nothing more than two half-chances from Michael Fish that were shepherded off for goal kicks and a header that bobbled into his arms following a corner.
Compared to the second half though Woods was being positively overworked as the forty five minutes that followed the interval saw Mossley register one single shot on target; the closest they got being a diving header from Fish that was blocked before it went anywhere near the six yard box.
Unfortunately the visitors weren't having any such trouble at the other end of the pitch. With Mossley remaining firmly stuck in neutral, the extra gear Wakefield appeared to have found during the break saw them begin to ask more and more questions of their opponents. Despite their best attempts to break the deadlock though, it was to be two defensive errors that they'd capitalise on to win the game.
In the 54th minute Delroy Ferguson took advantage of Lee Connor's hesitancy in heading off a loose pass to break clear of the home defence and slot the ball under the Mossley captain's namesake to put Wakefield ahead.
Both his and his sides second goal came courtesy of a similar error half an hour later, only this time it was Paul Quinn who failed to make the crucial and relatively straight forward interception, once again allowing Ferguson all the time he needed to compose himself and pick his spot past Connor with the ball.
The only positive for Mossley on the day was that the final scoreline wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. And the fact that they weren't on the receiving end of a much heavier defeat is down to a combination of a string of saves produced by Ashley Connor that bettered the ones he made in the opening half, some errant finishing by the visitors and, on one notable occasion, the woodwork.
Overall this was a hugely disappointing return to ways that many thought Mossley had put behind them with the aforementioned win over Chorley. With eight games of the season left, and all but one against teams currently above them in the table, Mossley are going to have rediscover that form quickly if they're not to be drawn into the race for the wooden spoon, or possibly worse if the league do decide to press ahead with relegating one team despite Newcastle Blue Star's intention to withdraw from the division in the summer.
report by SJNR
pics by Garry Hadfield