The first goal game within 80 seconds of the start, and it was a beauty. Jay Gorton pumped a high ball-cum-clearance from the back and it headed toward Sam Madeley at the edge of the box, back to goal. Whilst the home side waited for a linesman’s flag, Madeley controlled the ball out of the air, his touch putting the ball behind him. He turned and shot first time across the keeper into the corner.
And then Ramsbottom took over. With Edghill pulling the strings in front of the back four, they created plenty of chances, starting with Dawson heading over from a 5th minute corner.
Stopforth’s low curling cross turned into an effort on goal, going just wide of the far post whilst Pearson acrobatically pushed away Dean’s swept shot from the edge of the area. Spencer’s quick free kick was just wide of the post as the home side continued to press, and the pressure finally told after a frantic passage of play.
A 26th minute corner led to a Spencer shot from the edge of the area that was comfortable saved by Pearson. However his attempted quick kick upfield hit the back of a Ramsbottom striker and bounced into Robinson’s path on the right. His accurate cross was met by Gaskill but Pearson saved well again and the rebound cleared off the line. However, Ramsbottom retained possession and another cross caught the defence all at sea and the ball dropped to Robinson 6 yards out and he turned it in.
Sensing the disarray, Steve Halford switched his side from a back three to a back four, and the difference was immediate, Kayde Coppin nearly scoring when rounding the keeper at the tightest of angles. He had no support though and netting proved impossible. However, on 33 minutes Mossley worked the ball across the edge of the 18 yard box. Madeley played a cute reverse pass behind the defence for Mather to run onto and the former New Mills man smashed a shot from just inside the corner of the box into the net. Had Shenton in goal had got behind the ball he might have been taken into the net with it, Mather hit the ball that hard.
Ramsbottom resumed their pressure after the break. In the 47th minute, Chris Rowney cleared off the line when Edghill hooked a shot over the defence, but they were given a gilt edged opportunity just 3 minutes later when Brown brought Gaskill down on the edge of the box – the referee had no hesitation in awarding the spot kick. However, Pearson guessed right and pushed away Gaskill’s penalty, with Dean unable to deal with the rebound.
Gaskill thought he had scored minutes later, but he was adjudged offside, Spencer shot wide and forced a near post save from Pearson after a jinking run. Mossley’s only real chance came from a United mistake when a backpass was short, Coppin got to the by-line and cross for Madeley. The striker's shot was perfect, drilled and low, but the keeper managed to get a strong hand to it.
Then Mossley cleared off the line again as Robinson hooked a shot over an onrushing Pearson, only for Brown to slide in and clear.
Ramsbottom continued to press, but the chances dried up a little as Mossley gritted their teeth and defended with their lives. They never let their energy levels drop, as epitomised by Jay Gorton’s sliding block in injury time to prevent Gaskill’s pass reaching the lurking midfielders at the edge of the area. Robinson shot wide, the keeper came up for a corner, but Mossley held firm. They won’t earn a harder three points all season.
Report by Jonathan Haggart