After struggling over the first month of the season to add to their opening day win at Garforth, Mossley made it three in a row with a hard fought (rather too literally at times) victory over Trafford at Seel Park.
The opening period was a keenly contested affair during which Mossley controlled the majority of possession but couldn't find a finish to match some excellent approach play. Trafford on the other hand looked happy to soak up the pressure and try and use the pace of their wide men to hit their opponents on the break.
Both sides had chances to edge themselves in front. A Karl Brown free-kick was inches away from giving the Lilywhites the upper hand, while it took an excellent save from Peter Collinge to prevent Scott Barlow finding the back of the net for the visitors
The breakthrough finally came a minute before the half hour when Steve Moore's angled run towards goal was brought to a halt by Trafford defender Billy McCartney. Despite winning the ball cleanly the referee deemed the challenge from the former Mossley player an illegal one, the result of which was a penalty that Danny Egan calmly converted to give the home side the lead.
One quickly became two after Moore unexpectedly found the ball at his feet courtesy of a terrible clearance by Trafford keeper Tom Read. Taking a couple of touches to bring the gift fully under control and create space for the shot, he stroked the ball past Read to register his first goal in a Mossley shirt.
It was at this point though a game which had been played in a 'hard but fair' spirit suddenly boiled over into something a bit more unpleasant. You can understand the frustrations at going two goals down but the way it manifested itself in some of the visitors was not for the faint hearted. Challenges became wild and reckless and that they managed to make it to the interval with eleven men on the pitch raised more than a few eyebrows.
The red card did finally appear from the referee's back pocket ten minutes into the second half. An unnecessary tackle from behind which left a Mossley defender crumpled in a heap by a corner flag saw Shelton Payne receive his first yellow card, only to be followed moments later by his second for some untoward comments directed at the official.
Bizarrely the dismissal seemed to have a calming effect on the visitors and the rash tackles were replaced by some good passing football. And despite the disadvantage in numbers they actually looked for a lengthy period of time like the side most likely to score next. That they didn't was down to a combination of two things: some excellent defending from the Lilywhites and the same awkwardness in front of goal that Mossley themselves have displayed on numerous occasions this season.
As they began to throw more men forward in search of a way back into the game, gaps started to appear for Mossley to exploit and but for the width of a post and an offside flag the margin of victory would have been a lot more comprehensive.
Not that many associated with Mossley will complain though as the 2-0 score line gives them their first home league win of the campaign and brought to an end a week which has seen a sharp and welcome upturn in their fortunes.
Report by SJNR
pics by Smiffy