Mossley made the perfect start to the new season winning the opening game by a solitary goal at Simon Clifford’s Garforth Town.
With several new faces in the Mossley line up, two of them signed on the eve of the season with a central midfield pairing untried together in pre season, one could have been forgiven for expecting it to take a while for them to gel. However, although not yet quite the finished article just yet, this was a strong Mossley side and certainly one of the biggest starting eleven’s we have seen for a good few years. The back four being all over six feet tall.
The early action saw both sides diving into tackles with great relish and play was constantly broken up by free kicks and not helped throughout by a very strong wind, albeit on a sunny Yorkshire afternoon. On three occasions Mossley were subject to the wrath of the referee as Jordan Goodeve, Nick Boothby and Danny Egan all found their way into the referee’s notebook within the opening quarter.
Having comfortably taken care of some early Garforth pressure Mossley took the lead with their first truly meaningful attack.
In the 17th minute, a Garforth set piece broke down and the Lilywhites counter attacked at pace before Goodeve’s excellent threaded pass put Danny Dignan clear and the hard working Mossley number 10 did the rest as he calmly slotted the ball past Garforth keeper Tom Morgan to put Mossley ahead.
Mossley created all the best chances from thereon. Dignan rifled a great shot inches wide. Sam Walker hammered a free kick inches over the bar after Danny Egan had been brought down when clear on goal and Mossley had a goal chalked off when Egan’s goal-bound effort beat the keeper only for the offside Walker to tap the ball into an empty as the assistant raised his flag.
Playing into the angled wind in the second half Mossley held very firm at the back giving Garforth only half chances that they never really looked like taking.
Mossley thought they had scored when Graham Kay’s close range header was blocked possibly just over the line in a frantic goalmouth scramble and substitute Lee Blackshaw was unlucky when firing inches wide after totally outfoxing his marker with some silky footwork.
The game appeared to be drifting to conclusion with Mossley in control, when the referee signalled that there would be a rather surprising four minutes of stoppage time.
With those four minutes almost completed substitute Leon Henry won a challenge in the box and as the ball spun away from him he lunged at the next tackle felling Garforth’s Andy Hayward in the process. To the Mossley players and fans the sense of shock was palpable and the sigh of relief followed by cheers that ensued when Peter Collinge’s diving save to keep out Hayward’s resulting penalty kick echoed around Garforth was blatantly joyous. The final whistle sounded moments later and the Lilywhites had their deserved victory confirmed.
For Mossley, Goodeve and Watson excelled in midfield while the solid central defence of Graham Kay and Nick Boothby, back together for the first time since Kay’s injury last Christmas was rock solid. There were impressive displays too by debutant full backs Jonathan Jackson and Dan Schwarz, while Matty Kay and Sam Walker’s probings out wide caused Garforth more than a few problems. Up front Dignan and Egan worked as hard as ever to find openings and Dignan was rewarded for his grafting performance with the winning goal at a ground where Mossley hadn’t gained a positive result in two previous visits.
Report by John Cawthorne
Danny Dignan scores the winner
pics by Aaron Flanagan