Mossley deservedly earned a place in the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup with an excellent victory at UniBond Premier side Kendal Town.
With two players making full Mossley debuts, midfielder Mitch Bailey and towering defender Liam Coyne, along with the return to fitness of Danny Dignan and Lee Blackshaw the Mossley side bore little resemblance to the one that lost it's last two games against Salford and Garforth. Having said that, manager Chris WIllcock was forced into a last minute team change when Dave Hanlon was hurt in the warm ups and Nicky Boshell came into the side up front with Danny Dignan then switching to the right wing and Paddy Garmory taking a seat on the bench.
It was hardly perfect preparation but, after soaking up some early pressure playing up the Parkside Road slope Mossley found themselves dominating the game and creating chances with almost every attack.
A goalmouth skirmish saw Coyne and Dignan both have efforts blocked, Boshell had one cleared off the line when home keeper Newnes failed to clear on the edge of his area. The former Liversedge striker also had a goal disallowed for what must have been the most marginal of decisions. Mike Fish then curled a shot against the Kendal bar as Mossley again opened up the home defence.
The opening goal came in added time at the end of the first half. Danny Dignan broke down the left and crossed to the far post, Mike Fish stooped to head down and Lee Blackshaw arrived to score from close range and send the large travelling contingent into ecstacy as the half time whistle sounded moments later.
Kendal began the second half as they had done the first applying heavy pressure to the Mossley goal and gained their equaliser nine minutes in when Craig Hobson bundled the ball home from close range following a corner.
The goal ought to have galvanised Kendal's push for a winner but it was Mossley who again came back into the game to dominate procedings leaving Kendal to play an ineffective long ball game that Graham Kay and Liam Coyne dealt with easily.
Chris Willcock brought on Nick Challinor to left back replacing midfielder Ryan Cook and moving Leon Henry into a central midfield role. It proved to be a masterstroke as Henry and Mitch Bailey quickly found their fluidity together and as time wore on Mossley looked like the side most likely to score again and so it proved.
With ten minutes remaining and the possibility of a replay just beginning to loom Mossley set up the best move of the match to win the game. Challinor and Bailey worked together on the left and Mike Fish was freed down the wing. He shrugged off a challenge before invitingly rolling the ball accross the face of the Kendal goal. Substitute Danny Egan didn't quite reach it but Leon Henry who had raced fully sixty yards to join the attack arrived at the far post at exactly the right moment to deservedly volley Mossley in front and seal the visitors place in the next round.
Kendal huffed and puffed, but their best chance was a long range shot that Liam Higginbotham expertly tipped over the bar and Mossley were able to play out the remaining moments of the game near Kendal's corner flag where Mike Fish wasted vital time with some expert close control leaving the home side deflated and the Mossley players and fans alike delighted as the final whistle sounded.
After beating high flying Ashton United twice in the previous week and sitting pretty in the UniBond Premier play off slots Kendal were undoubtedly favourites to go through, but Mossley showed great character, great resolve and no little skill to deservedly earn their place in the 3rd Qualifying Round and take their FA Cup prize money up to £4,500.
Report by Orpheus
Mossley debutant Liam Coyne has a shot blocked
Nicky Boshell scores but is given off-side
Right on half time Lee Blackshaw meets Mike Fish's knockback . . .
Newnes is beaten . . .
and Mossley are one up!
Blackshaw gets in another cross
Mike Fish is a handful for the Kendal defence
2nd half substitute Nick Challinor gave an excellent performance at left back
Fish's low cross finds Leon Henry in full flight
and volleys home
before being buried under his team mates
Leon Henry takes on a defender as the final whistle sounds
the players are jubilant
and manager Chris Willcock is a happy man!
pics by Garry Hadfield