After their five goal collapse at home to Newcastle at the weekend, the last team Mossley would have wanted to face in their next fixture was one currently on a long unbeaten streak, but in FC Halifax Town that's exactly what they came up against on Tuesday.
And though the scoreline shows that the Lilywhites failed to halt The Shaymen's run of positive results, what it doesn't tell is that it took a scrambled goal in injury time to finally kill off the Lilywhites hopes of rescuing a deserved point from a close game. Not that the early stages of the match gave any indication that that would be the case.
As expected for a side currently racking up the points , Halifax began the match in a mood that suggested they wanted to kill off the game as a contest as soon as possible. It's a wish they might have got as well had it not been for some strong defending from the visitors.
On the few occasions that the Lilywhites back line was breached, keeper Ashley Connor was proving to be an even tougher barrier for them to get past; none more so than when he produced a fingertip save to push a tenth minute shot from Junior Brown around the post.
For all the pressure they were exerting though, the home side weren't having things all their own way. The best chance of the half, in open play at least, fell Mossley's way and came when a series of one touch passes put Matty Berkeley clean through on goal but the forward snatched at his shot and hooked it wide of the goal with only the keeper to beat.
The longer the half wore on the more it looked like the sides would be going in at the break level but that all changed when Halifax were awarded a very contentious penalty. After some lengthy protests had been waved away, John Smith stepped up to the spot and stroked the ball past Connor to put his side ahead.
The goal gave the home side a visible boost and the Lilywhites survived more than a few close calls before the arrival of the interval, and in the five minutes immediately after it as well.
Following that initial flurry of action at the start of the second period though the game slowly began to turn Mossley's way; the introduction at half-time of substitutes Ryan Cook and Daryl Weston adding some steel to the Lilywhites midfield and, as a consequence, wrestling a greater share of the possession away from their opponents. And with this increase came a growth in the number of chances that began to fall the Lilywhites way.
Weston had a shot bundled off the line, Michael Fish and Christian Hirst forced keeper Jon Kennedy into making two good reaction saves and numerous other players had efforts that flashed narrowly wide of the goal frame but, try as they might, Mossley just couldn't divert the ball into the net.
The moment when they probably realised that it wasn't to be their night came with five minutes left. A powerful run down the right from Hirst ended with the winger finding Cook on the edge of the Halifax box and while his first time shot shot left Kennedy rooted to the spot, it couldn't beat the right hand upright.
Then came the killer blow to the Lancashire sides rapidly fading hopes of claiming what would have been a warranted point. A cheaply conceded free-kick was fired into the Mossley penalty area and after a series of ricochets Brown poked the ball over the line to seal the win.
Report by SJNR
pics by Smiffy