Mossley lost to a late penalty in their first friendly of the season. The game was played behind closed doors and in sweltering conditions, but the new-look Lillywhites gave a good account of themselves and were unlucky to lose in what was a tight encounter.
The match contained hardly any goal scoring opportunities with both defences rock solid. Mossley played some neat build up play in the first half but lacked a cutting edge. Likewise, Stalybridge never tested Mossley’s young keeper Liam Lovell into making a save.
It took a slice of luck for Mossley to take the lead when midfielder Jordan Butterworth’s shot from distance was deflected past Celtic keeper Stewart giving him no chance.
Mossley lost Andy Keogh to injury midway through the first half but the Lillywhites continued to match Celtic, in what was their fourth friendly, until the hosts equalised in spectacular fashion just before the break.
Celtic were awarded a free kick 25 yards out and in the blink of an eye Harry Freedman whipped a superb shot over the wall and into the top corner leaving Lovell rooted to the spot.
Both teams made numerous changes at half time with Mossley introducing a couple of trialists who acquitted themselves very well.
The second half was almost a carbon copy of the first with both teams cancelling each other out. Late in the game a rare attack down the left by Celtic resulted in Krisel Prifti going down in the box after minimal contact with a Mossley defender. The referee seemed to take an age before pointing to the spot. Kyle Hawley stepped up and sent Lovell the wrong way to convert what was a really soft penalty.
Mossley threw caution to the wind in the closing stages with McLaughlin having a great chance to equalise only to shoot wide of the target when well placed.
The Lillywhites can take heart from this performance against a team from a higher division and in a game played in testing conditions.
Next up for Mossley is a trip to Silsden on Saturday.