As local derbies go, it's hard to remember one having got off to a better start for the Lilywhites.
Only five minutes had elapsed when Danny Egan's harrying forced Ben Connett into making an error, a hurried attempt at clearing his lines succeeding only in directing the ball straight to the feet of Nathan Neequaye. From 25 yards out the Mossley forward calmly teed the ball up before striking it low past the keeper to give his side the lead.
Disappointingly it also turned out to be Mossley's last shot of the half. In fact the Lilywhites can consider themselves to have been quite fortunate to have reached the interval with that lead still intact.
As Mossley's passing grew increasingly wild and haphazard the longer the opening period went on, Woodley began to enjoy more and more possession and with it came a long succession of chances. Fortunately most of them were hit directly, and tamely, at Mann but Gavin Salmon and Tom Sellars should have both done better than to drag identical shots wide of the post when in very good positions
The only real stop James Mann was forced into making was from his opposite number Connett. A wind assisted drop kick looked to have beaten him when a huge bounce took it over his head and towards an empty goal. Some furious back-pedalling and a fingertip save at full-stretch however was enough to divert the ball onto the crossbar from where it bounced to safety.
Happily from a Mossley perspective the second half was a much more even and less one sided affair in terms of goalscoring opportunities, but that still couldn't stop their opponents from drawing level. The best move of the match up to that point, a string of five passes that opened up the Lilywhites defence, ended with Sam Walker controlling the ball with one touch before launching an unstoppable volley from the edge of the area past Mann.
Not to be outdone Mossley then produced a passage play that was more than equal to the build-up for Woodley's goal. The only difference was that the fizzing and acrobatic shot at the end of it from Michael Fish was palmed away by the keeper. Unfortunately for him it wasn't to safety and after picking up the loose ball Reece Kelly played an intelligent and simple pass across the six yard box to fellow substitute Leon Henry who fired Mossley back in front.
The win looked to have been sealed when Lee Blackshaw added a third goal from an acute angle late on in the game after keeping his nerve in a one-on-one with Connett. Mossley don't do things the easy way though and the four minutes of added on time at the end of the match were given a nervous edge when Sam Madeley pulled a goal back for the visitors.
However that fifth goal of the night also turned out to be the final one, ensuring that Mossley claimed the three points on offer as well as maintaining their current sequence of L/W/L/W/L/W results – a pattern they'll desperately be hoping to break against Colwyn Bay.
report by SJNR