Having taken a first half lead, Mossley conceded two second half goals to go out of the Emirates FA Cup to Premier Division Radcliffe in front of a bumper Seel Park crowd on Saturday afternoon.
The attendance of 736 was Mossley's biggest home crowd for almost fourteen years, falling short of the 889 who witnessed the Lilywhites beat FC United of Manchester 2-0 in a NPL fixture played on 27th November 2007, which was the last time Seel Park topped 700.
Mossley, bereft of an entire forward line through injury and unavailability, gave everything to the game against an experienced and direct Radcliffe side as Mason Fawns was tasked with the job of leading the line, and though he had support up front in the shape of Harry Pratt and David Kuba-Kuba, his roving midfield guile was missed in Mossley's approach play.
The Lilywhites battled hard for every ball but Radcliffe are a powerful side who constantly went long and early pressing high up on the tireless Lilywhites defence.
After surviving an early Radcliffe flurry, Mossley began to impose themselves on the game. Fawns had the Lilywhites first shot but visitors keeper Belford saved easily and Butterworth fired wide when well placed.
Mossley took the lead in the 12th minute. A left wing corner was only partially cleared, Pratt laid off to Butterworth deep on the right and his hung cross saw Jack Grundy meet the ball with a powerful header from six yards. His first ever goal for the club.
Mossley almost added a second a few minutes later as Belford needed two goes to save Fawns' powerful volley.
Mossley resisted well throughout the first half with captain Dec Evans and Devon Matthews winning countless headers as Mossley players routinely threw their bodies in the way against the dangerous Radcliffe front four resulting in Latham being relatively untroubled.
The Lilywhites injury woes were further dented when Harry Pratt announced himself unwell at the interval and took no further part. The mobile attacker being replaced by young midfielder Will Shepherd playing a role unfamiliar to him.
It took Radcliffe just three minutes after the restart to fashion an equaliser. The constantly dangerous Andy Owens finding himself in the right place to turn the ball home from close range after an unfortunate deflection took it into his path.
Akpa-Akpro then fired wide after Latham had blocked his first effort. Mossley responded with a long mazy run by Matthews that led to Fawns having his shot blocked by a well positioned defender.
Experienced striker Owens provided Mossley a warning that they didn't heed when he fired wide from a good position, as moments later he gave Radcliffe the lead when he slotted the ball past Latham from Akpa-Akpro's pinpoint pass on 66 minutes.
Owens came close again moments later but headed wide from a good position and Akpa-Akpro fired wide as Mossley struggled to come to terms with their new situation of chasing the game.
As Mossley adjusted to the chase they had a great chance when some Mossley pressure saw Butterworth fire over the bar from the edge of the box before Fawns had a goal-bound shot on the turn from inside the box blocked by a Radcliffe defender.
Mossley threw centre back Matthews up front for the closing minutes and the Lilywhites had a late chance when they won a right wing free kick but Fawns set play flew past the onrushing Mossley players and out for a throw in and that was just about that!
Had Mossley been able to field anything like a full strength forward line it may have been a different story. However, on the day Radcliffe just about deserved their victory and it is they that move on to the 3rd Qualifying Round.
Martyn Nolan pics to follow > >