It's hard to believe that Mossley will have left Leigh Sports Village in anything other than a disappointed mood after, to use a hoary old cliché, they snatched a draw from the jaws of victory.
In terms of shots and goalmouth incidents there was precious little to entertain Leigh's largest crowd of the season for long stretches of the first period. Peter Collinge was forced into making a good save to stop Jamie Baguley giving the home side the lead from a free kick and, at the opposite end of the pitch, a long series of corners was concluded when Graham Kay headed against the crossbar. But in the course of forty four minutes though there was only one real talking point.
It took place midway through the half when Nick Allen was kicked in the head by Andy Heald after the Mossley midfielder had tackled him cleanly on the edge of the box. The referee saw the petulant and dangerous lash at the prone Allen and immediately showed the Leigh player a red card, though it did take him a while to leave the pitch as he continued his remonstrations with the official.
Happily a second topic for half-time discussion arrived in the forty fifth minute. One of the few passages of good football in the match saw Sam Walker, Matty Kay and Karl Brown combine to move the ball across the pitch and into the path of Ben Richardson who was charging into the penalty area. Without breaking his stride the Mossley wing-back launched a venomous shot across Drench and into the roof of the net before embarking on a mazy, celebratory run.
With the home side confined to nothing but the occasional effort from long distance and the visitors struggling to make their extra man count, the game in the early stages of the second half looked to be over and that everyone was simply passing the time until the final whistle sounded. At least it did until Mossley gave their hosts a lifeline.
A minute before the hour mark, and under no pressure at all, the Lilywhites effortlessly gave the ball away thirty yards from their own goal and ten seconds later it was in the back of their net. Collinge did remarkably well to keep the initial shot out from Ince but Chris Thompson reacted quickly to bundle the ball over the line.
If anything good came of the equaliser from a Mossley perspective it was that it finally appeared to inject a spark of life into them. Suddenly there was a bit more urgency to their play but even with the advantage in numbers they failed to create as many opportunities as they probably should have done, which the ten men of Leigh do deserve some credit for.
The two good openings the Lilywhites did work came within sixty seconds each other as the end of the game loomed. The first chance brought a great save out of Drench to deny Richardson what would have been a near perfect copy of his goal on the stroke of the interval, while the second saw Nathan Neequaye hammer a shot against the post from close range.
Plenty of bluster was shown in the final few minutes by both sides but a match winning goal never looked like materialising, leaving Mossley to rue the lapse in concentration which turned three points into one.
Report by SJNR
pics by Smiffy