The season and John Flanagan's brief
reign as Mossley manager came to an end with a victory that
guaranteed the Lilywhites seventh spot in the Unibond First
Division North and condemned Rossendale to finishing a second
successive campaign at the foot of the table.
As much as I'd like to avoid using the the cliché
“a typical end of season affair” to describe the
match it's hard not to as the game rarely developed a head
of steam under the spring sunshine bathing Seel Park. Especially
during a first half in which the two goals that gave Mossley
the lead at the interval were the only moments of note in
an otherwise lacklustre opening period.
The first goal arrived just after the half hour mark when
a Dale defender tried to chest a right wing cross from Mike
Fish into the arms of his goalkeeper Tom Brocklehurst. Unfortunately
for him he completely misjudged just how far away the intended
recipient was and only succeeded in cushioning the ball into
the path of the inrushing Lee Blackshaw who converted the
chance gifted to him.
An error played a part in Mossley's second goal as well,
however it shouldn't take anything away from the build-up
which involved a blistering run over half the length of the
pitch by Ben Richardson to get on to the end of of long, looping
pass by Andy Russell. His shot wasn't a particularly well
struck one but the United keeper inexplicably let the ball
pass through his hands as he bent to collect it, allowing
the effort to roll slowly across the goal line and into the
Thankfully for those watching from the terraces the second
half had a bit more life to it – a situation aided in
no small part by David Owens pulling a goal back for the visitors
almost immediately after the restart. They came agonisingly
close to levelling the scores too when Williams and ex-Mossley
forward Ian Barker both hit the cross bar within the space
of ten seconds.
It was a warning that finally woke Mossley from their post
half-time slumber and Matty Kay restored the Lilywhites two
goal advantage with a neat finish from ten yards. The goal
was his 29th of the campaign but the 30th remained elusive
despite Kay going desperately close on a number of occasions
to registering it.
Another goal was to come though and with five minutes remaining
Mossley completed their scoring for the afternoon and the
2009/10 season when Chris McDonagh headed an inswinging free-kick
beyond the dive of Brocklehurst.
The post match news of Flanagan's resignation as manager
due to work commitments undoubtedly took some of the shine
off the win. But if the squad he leaves behind, and the spirit
he's imbued them with, can remain intact over the summer there's
no reason to believe that Mossley can't set their sights for
a higher finish than seventh.
Report by SJNR
Pics by Smiffy