A poor first half performance gave Mossley a mountain to climb at play off chasers Clitheroe on Saturday and despite a much better showing after the break the Lilywhites fell just short of a positive result.
Manager David Fish made just one change from the team that won at Marine with skipper Andy Keogh replacing Bailey Marsden in the starting line up but the Lilywhites simply didn't get out of the blocks until late in the opening half hour as Clitheroe dominated the game, won all the second (and third) balls and kept Mossley on the back foot and mostly chasing shadows for lengthy spells while roaring into a two goal lead.
The opener came as early as the sixth minute. A long punt by home keeper Thompson was flicked on by the giant Gonzales and Max Cane nipped in to clip the ball over the advancing Tom Scott who suddenly found himself stranded in no man's land.
The imposing Gonzales was proving, as expected, to be a massive problem for the Mossley defence and he was involved in the second goal as his cross was met by Max Cane at the near post with Scott unable to prevent his point blank range header from crossing the line.
Mossley finally showed signs of a potential fight back as they ended the half in the ascendancy. Fawns and Banister both went close before Keogh crashed a header against the bar from Fawns' right wing corner moments before the break.
Clitheroe were then put on the back foot as Mossley came out a much improved side after the break. Fawns fired wide, Banister's effort was cleared for a corner, Hickman fired high and wide and Fawns was denied by the keeper before the home side struck again against the run of play with 12 minutes remaining. Sefton Gonzales hit a shot from some 25 yards that Scott will be very disappointed not to keep out and at 3-0 Clitheroe seemingly had the game done and dusted.
One thing this Mossley team does possess though, is spirit and they have that in abundance and there was no chance the Lilywhites would just role over and back came the Lilywhites.
In the 86th minute substitute Harry Pratt rifled a shot that Thompson could only palm into the path of Pratt's fellow sub Connor Morris who fired home the rebound to give Mossley just the faintest glimmer of hope.
As the game went into stoppage time Mossley grabbed a second lifeline as the outstanding Freddie Sass fired through a crowded box for his first Mossley goal to make it 3-2.
With time quickly running out Mossley had just one chance and one chance only to find an equaliser ... and they almost did. Ben Richardson's long throw caused havoc in the home box and the ball broke for Fawns who was forlorn to see his shot just miss the post and Clitheroe were no doubt mightily relieved to hear the final whistle moments later as the Lilywhites revival just ran out of time.