It was more Cheadle Flume than Hulme as torrential rain provided the backdrop for Mossley and Woodley' s stalemate on neutral territory in this FA Cup preliminary round tie.
Somewhat unsurprisingly both sides seemed to be struggling to come to terms with the conditions and chances were a lot like like adequate shelter from the elements at the Park Road Stadium: sadly lacking.
Midway through the opening half Matthew Butters misjudged a tackle and the ball zipped beneath him allowing Mario Bryan the opportunity a free run down the right. The former Rochdale player though chose to whip in an impressive first time cross that not only caught the Mossley defence cold but landed inch perfectly on the head of an unmarked Nick Robinson who powered the ball past Ashley Connor.
As the half drew towards a close Mossley finally started to ask a few questions of the 'home' defence. Kitson Gayle went incredibly close to levelling the game with a shot from the corner of the box, Liam Higginbotham in the Woodley goal pulling all sorts of shapes in order to cope with the swerve that was on it. Level it they did though as the interval approached. Paul Garvey fired a free-kick from the left across the face of the Woodley goal and amongst a melee of players at the back post, Richard Conway managed to apply a touch that sent the ball into the back of the net.
If the first half belonged to Woodley, the second belonged to Mossley. Like their hosts in the previous period though they were struggling to convert possession into chances. Gareth Hamlet went close with a header that looped over the bar and David Wallace shot wide after a bursting run into the box but with the weather somehow managing to get worse, the game steadily became of a slog for both teams.
In the last five minutes the match burst into a modicum of life. A Woodley break caught Mossley's defence at sixes and sevens and the ball made it's way to the feet of Andrew Watson, unmarked on the edge of the six yard box. However, instead of applying a finish that probably would have won his side the match he stood stock still as the ball hit his leg and rolled off harmlessly for a goal kick.
Mossley responded by almost forcing a Woodley defender into putting a cross into his own net and with the referee putting the whistle to his mouth to signal full-time, Wallace brought a game saving stop out of Higginbotham.
Not the best of games but a draw was probably the fairest result and both sides survive to do it all again in what will hopefully be better conditions at Seel Park.
report by SJNR