The last time Mossley reached this stage of the competition in 2000 it was against Droylsden. The match took place on a poor playing surface at Boundary Park and it finished 2-1 to the Bloods, with Mossley's goal coming courtesy of the boot of an opponent. The only difference nine years on, other than the changes of personnel in the starting elevens, was that this match wasn't a substitute for pharmacological insomnia cures.
And while they might have lost the result was something a moral victory for the Lilywhites, as a side that went in to the game ravaged by injuries, suspensions and ineligibilities took the outcome of the match against an expensively assembled side on the fringes of the Conference to the very final whistle.
In the end the only real difference between the two sides on the night was a ten minute spell immediately after the interval. Mossley's season long problems of defending corners and slow starts to second periods combined to haunt them again as Mike Byron rose unmarked on the edge of the six yard box to open the scoring and put the Bloods in front.
James Mann was then called on to make a string of high quality saves as the Blue Square North side built up a head of steam. He was beaten again though a few minutes later with a shot that even keepers playing at an international level would have failed to stop - a ferocious strike from twenty five yards by Neil Sorvel that doubled Droylsden's lead.
It was all incredibly harsh on a Mossley side that had gone off at the break having not only matched Droylsden but also having arguably been the better of the two sides as well.
In terms of chances created Mossley were certainly ahead on points. While maybe not enjoying quite as much possession as Droylsden were, the Lilywhites were proving far more effective at turning what they had of it into efforts on goal.
They also found the back of it with the games first shot in anger in the 4th minute. Unfortunately for them though Lee Blackshaw's ball behind the Droylsden defence had found Danny Egan and his celebrations were cut short by the assistant referee's raised flag.
Next to try his luck was Blackshaw himself who fired over the crossbar from the edge of the box while Reece Kelly hit it with an in-swinging corner. Daryl Weston and Chris Hirst tested Craig Mawson on more than one occasion and Byron did well to scoop the ball over his own goal to Egan from getting on the end Ben Richardson's cross.
The Bloods on the other hand, while stringing some nice moves together, were struggling to break down the Mossley defence. Only once did they come close to scoring and it took a good save from Mann to stop Matthew Tipton from doing so. But then came that spell at the start of the second period and just when it looked as though the floodgates were beginning to open, Mossley simply rolled up their metaphorical socks and began to take the game to their opponents once more.
For all the pressure they were exerting though Mawson was having an easy time of it in the Droylsden goal but that changed when Brown's ridiculously inept attempt at mopping up a Mossley attack saw him spoon the ball over his own keeper's head and into the net from the edge of the box. Another moment of quality brought to the masses by the Blue Square Conference North.
As well as halving the arrears the goal gave Mossley another boost and suddenly Mawson was being called on to do more than mop up the occasional back pass. Michael Fish went close on three occasions to leveling the game, Kelly fired over and Blackshaw found the keepers arms with a low drive.
As the game moved towards to time added on it looked as though Mossley had snatched what would have been a dramatic, yet deserved, late equaliser. Lee Blackshaw's free-kick was met on the back post by Ben Richardson who steered the ball past Mawson with his head and into the net. For the second time in the match though the jubilations both on and off the pitch were brought to an abrupt halt by a raised flag.
Despite a vociferous backing from the stand urging them on, as it had done for the previous ninety minutes, it turned out to be Mossley's last chance at rescuing the match as Droylsden wound the game down and reclaimed the trophy they last won in 2007.
Report by SJNR