Mossley crashed out of the Emirates FA Cup in heartbreaking fashion in the last minute of stoppage time to a Widnes side whose time wasting and gamesmanship antics saw a frustrated Mossley reduced to nine men whilst almost staging a remarkable comeback in a night of high drama at Seel Park.
The Lilywhites line up showed one change to the starting line up from Saturday's 5-0 demolition of Kendal Town with Nicky Platt replacing the unavailable Craig Roddan.
The Lilywhites were on the front foot from the off retaining possession and attacking with purpose. However, on 6 minutes with Widnes having barely ventured into the Mossley half - a swift and slick counter attack saw James Steele raid down Mossley's left and cross low for Conor Ready to sweep home at the far post. It was to be a benchmark for the rest of the game. Mossley enjoying lengthy spells of possession but Widnes providing a constant threat on the counter.
Despite Mossley dominating possession chances wouldn't come as Widnes defended solidly. Nicky Platt had Mossley's first effort on target with a powerful long range effort but Widnes keeper Wheeler was able to gather.
Jes Uchegbulam's clever pass released Adam Morgan, but his first time effort hit the side netting as Mossley began to threaten towards the end of the half, though Forth was forced into a good save to deny the lively Hodkinson as half time approached.
Widnes created the first chance of the second period but Klein-Davies fired over from a great position when it looked easier to score. Then it was Mossley in charge as Andy Keogh had a goal bound shot blocked on the line and Simon Lenighan was denied by a great Wheeler save. However, on 53 minutes another Widnes counter attack saw the visitors double their lead. Hodkinson broke clear on Mossley's right and squared for James Steele to tap home from close range with Mossley defenders still chasing back.
It was harsh on Mossley who were playing well but the Lilywhites received further damage two minutes later when two over-acting Widnes players squared up to Ben Halfacre, the Mossley forward allowed his emotions to get the better of him and raised a hand to one of them and was shown a straight red card.
The sending off seemed to galvanize Mossley and the Lilywhites increased the pressure halving the arrears two minutes later. Adam Morgan crossing for Adam Jones to head home his first goal of the season.
It was now all Mossley as the ten men pressed hard but Widnes employed spoiling and delaying tactics at every opportunity several times feigning injury and practicing the worst kind of gamesmanship. The referee Mr Brown had a very poor game and did nothing to prevent the blatant Widnes time-wasting.
Ryan Brooke replaced Ben Richardson as the Lilywhites threw caution to the wind but fellow substitute Dieter Downey (on for Platt) was yellow carded for receiving a punch with the Widnes defender unpunished.
Brooke's stay on the pitch was short lived, A sliding tackle on the wet surface saw the Lilywhites striker red carded as Widnes players again over reacted to what was a minor incident.
Mossley now down to just nine players worked tirelessly keeping Widnes pegged back and miraculously with three minutes of stoppage time played Adam Morgan burst through to score and cause scenes of absolute mayhem at the Park End.
As hard as playing extra time two men light would have been it would have been much preferable to what happened next as seconds after the goal Widnes attacked and Hodkinson set up Conor Ready for another close range finish to break Mossley hearts six minutes into added time with little time for the Lilywhites to respond and Widnes snatched the win and a home tie against Whitby Town in the next round.
Callum Schofield pics > >