On an absolutely dreadful night weatherwise, Mossley made progress to the 3rd Round of the UniBond President's Cup with this victory over Radcliffe Borough but had to do it the hard way, coming from behind yet again.
With the pitch fast and skiddy in the first half Mossley were able to make little use of the through ball and despite having the wind and rain in their favour generally made little headway. Radcliffe, confident, compact and on form posed most of the early threat to Mossley's newly signed keeper Andy Robertson but he had no real saves of note to make as several shots flashed high or wide.
The first real incidents of note came in the last ten minutes of the half. Robertson received a yellow card after racing off his line and being left in no mans land by a sloppy back pass, he brought down Griff Jones. The free kick came to nought but minutes later Mossley looked in real trouble as the otherwise impeccable Simon Wood, playing in a central defensive role for the first time in a Mossley shirt, completely mis-timed a tackle in the box for a certain penalty. Radcliffe centre forward Steve Howson surely had other plans for the spot kick than to blast it high and wide, but that's exactly what, much to Mossley's relief, he did!
Mossley surged up field and Danny Dignan struck the far post with a superb 25 yard daisy cutter and the half ended with Boro keeper Phil Priestly making a number of excellent stops to keep Mossley at bay.
The skidding pitch Mossley had had to deal with in the first half vanished in the half time interval as the rain continued to fall heavily and turned parts of the pitch into something resembling agriculture. This had an instant effect. A misplaced through ball appeared to be going harmlessly through to Robertson only for the ball to stick in the mud on the edge of the area. Steve Howson made up for his earlier penalty miss by winning the 50-50 with Mossley's debutant keeper and knocking the ball into an empty net.
With Danny Egan on as a half time substitute for Mike Fish Mossley kept plugging away at the Radcliffe defence and on the hour the Lilywhites got their reward. Dignan was fouled outside the Boro box and Lee Blackshaw's 25 yard free kick took a deflection to leave Priestly stranded and level the scores.
Leon Henry replaced Blackshaw 5 minutes later and then shortly after Danny Self replaced a thoroughly mud soaked Dignan and Mossley stepped up a gear. Self in particular was a thorn in Boro's side and he was fouled almost every time he had the ball.
The winning goal arrived in the 77th minute. Self played a delightful ball down the left channel, Danny Egan chased the ball and rifled a superb volley past Priestly from a difficult angle.
Radcliffe tried hard to respond and Robertson did well to keep out a Chappell effort but it is Mossley who will deservedly go in the hat for the next round.
Report by Orpheus
pics by Smiffy