A rain lashed Seel Park played to host to an incredible FA Trophy 2nd Qualifying Round replay as Mossley came back from the brink of defeat for the second time in three days; not only to take the game into extra-time but set up a shock victory against high flying visitors from a more senior division.
One goal down and with only seconds of normal time left on the clock, substitute Lee Blackshaw took advantage of the gap left by the Brackley right back who'd been shown his second yellow card moments earlier, to fire Steve Settle's low cross through a crowd of players and take what had been a thoroughly absorbing contest into extra time.
It was the very least Mossley merited too as it would be quite the understatement to say that Town's goal had led something of a charmed life over the course of the preceding 89 minutes. From the 2nd minute onwards when Ben Richardson brought a smart save out of Richard Morris with a fierce long range drive, Mossley created a seemingly never ending series of openings but they could just not put the ball between the posts. Even when they had the opportunity to take the lead from the penalty spot before the interval, top scorer Matty Kay found the back of the stand rather than the back of the net.
But as is so often the case it was the team which had barely had an attack of note that took the lead. During a rare scene of panic in the Mossley penalty area the ball hit the raised arm of a defender and unlike the home side, Brackley made no mistake with the opportunity awarded to them from the spot. Ben Mackey firing his shot low and hard past Peter Collinge.
To the Lilywhites immense credit though they refused to let their heads drop. Over the remaining 20 minutes of the initial 90 the pressure they exerted grew and grew until they got their just reward with Blackshaw's late equaliser.
With bodies rapidly tiring through a combination of the games pace and the heaviness of the pitch, the man advantage Mossley held through Jon Brady's dismissal quickly began to tell in extra-time as Brackley struggled to get out of their own half of the pitch.
Shots rained in on the Saints goal from all angles and in the 103rd minute of the game, one finally reached its intended target. A scramble instigated by a cross from the left by Danny Egan ended with Nathan Neequaye hammering the ball past Town's substitute keeper from close range and for the first time in the two games Mossley were ahead.
There was time for a couple of 'heart in mouth' moments as Brackley threw men forward in search of their own late, late equaliser. But in doing so they left themselves susceptible to the counter attack and with a minute of the tie remaining, Neequaye was the beneficiary of one such breakaway; his second, and Mossley's third, goal of the night lighting the blue touch paper on scenes of excited celebration on the terraces.
Both sides deserve an enormous amount of praise for producing such an entertaining game of football in the adverse conditions it was played under. It's Mossley though - and deservedly so on the evidence of this 120 minute encounter - who'll be making the late November trip Ilkeston Town in search of further Trophy glory.
Report by SJNR
pics by Smiffy