There was very much a new look to the Mossley side that faced League leaders Lancaster City at Seel Park on Saturday, but the youthful Lilywhites gave a courageous battling performance against the odds and were thoroughly undeserving of a 1-0 defeat.
Mossley were dealt a blow before kick off when stand in captain James Blair was injured in the warm up. Matty Burke was called off the bench to replace Blair and also took the captaincy. A job he took with relish giving a man of the match performance.
Dan Johnson and Keenan Quansah were given their first starts while there was a debut for centre forward Liam Ellis. There was also a surprise selection with the return after a six year absence of central defender Andy Watson who has signed on dual registration on the morning of the game from Curzon Ashton.
Mossley were without the injured Caldon Henson and Kyle McGonigle along with the unwell Callum Scullion.
Lancaster, as one would expect of League leaders, were quick out of the blocks and came close and came close when Craig Carnet lashed a powerful volley inches wide.
Mossley gradually began to find their feet. Looking much more solid at the back the Lilywhites were able to bring some adventure to their play and Tom Pratt, Liam Ellis and Damian Skolorzynski had all had shots on target saved by Michael Hale.
Mossley’s current run of bad luck continued when Jason Hill hobbled off after 24 minutes meaning a debut for teenage attacking midfielder Danny Byrnes.
There were, in truth, few scoring chances for either side but the crucial goal came on 55 minutes. Mossley lost possession on the right wing. Lancaster raided. Paul Jarvis crossed to the far post were Ryan Winder fired the visitors in front with an angled volley from fifteen yards.
Mossley, undaunted, took the game to the high flying visitors who seemed content to sit on their solitary lead.
The Lilywhites poured forward but were unable to find a way through a solid defence despite some clever attacking play with new boy Ellis and Tom Pratt prominent.
The closest Mossley came to an equaliser came when Tom Dean’s fine header from Pratt’s right wing corner flew millimetres over the angle of post and bar.
Lancaster did their best to slow the game down and keeper Hale’s time wasting became a prominent feature.
The visitors, desperate to hang on were able to hold the ball in Mossley corners to run the clock down and Mossley were out of time and out of luck.
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