After being dumped out of the Unibond President’s Cup at the semi-final stage by Trafford a little over a week earlier, Mossley gained a modest amount of revenge for that controversial exit by beating their south Manchester opponents in a league fixture at a wet and windy Seel Park.
Actually wet and windy doesn’t even begin to describe the atrocious conditions the match was played under.
A series of heavy and prolonged downpours that had begun falling in the few hours leading up to kick-off had grown into one non-stop torrent by the time the match finally got under way. Coupled with a driving wind blowing the length of the pitch, it was testament to both sets of players that they were actually able to remain upright on the increasingly slippery surface, let alone attempt to play football when proceedings started.
The consequence of both teams having to expend their energies on battling the elements as well as each other meant that the game passed slowly without incident until it unexpectedly burst into life in the 24th minute.
During a brief lull in the weather, Trafford became the first side to string together a series of passes and in doing so they opened the Mossley defence, presenting Scott Barlow with the opportunity to put his side in front from very close range.
If luck had been notable for its absence in their meeting with Trafford a week earlier, it certainly came to the Lilywhites assistance in this game. Their first stroke of good fortune came nine minutes after the visitors had taken the lead when Clive Moyo-Modise's 20 yard shot took a deflection off the outstretched leg of a defender and beyond the reach of keeper Read to draw Mossley level.
It got even better for the home side four minutes before the interval when another ricochet ensured that they'd begin the second half holding the advantage. This time it was Daryl Weston who benefited from his shot being deviated from its initial path by an attempted block – the ball looping high over an exasperated looking Read and into the net.
Unsurprisingly given that they were now playing into a wind that had picked up even more strength during the break, Mossley spent most of the second period desperately trying to break out of their own half. On the positive side however, the mass bank of white shirts facing the visitors made it incredibly tough for Trafford to get a sighting of James Mann's goal
On the few occasions they did find a chink in the armour though, luck came to the Lilywhites aid once again. Shaun Whitehead saw not one but two shots that looked certain goals crash off the cross bar and to safety, while substitute Chris Mackay could only watch in disbelief as his net bound free-kick late in the match deflected off the back of Mattie Kay and onto the upright.
As Trafford piled men forward in search of an equaliser they became increasingly susceptible a breakaway goal and that's precisely what happened a minute into injury time; Alex Mortimer and Dave Brooke combining to present Chris Hirst with ball on the edge of the visitors box, from where the loanee from Macclesfield Town struck a low shot that bounced under Read and into the bottom corner of the net.
It might not have been the prettiest of victories, or the greatest of games, but its one that Mossley will welcome as it not only ends a run of five games without a win, but sets them up well for the visit of the league leaders Durham City in their next match.
Report by SJNR
pics by Garry Hadfield