With the first team missing 7 regulars
from their starting line up, the reserves were heavily reliant
on the Youth team for their trip to Curzon Ashton. Curzon
put out an experienced squad, including 4 of the team that
were in the starting line up in the President's Cup clash
at Seel Park the previous week. Both teams went into the
game defending unbeaten records in the league so far this
From the kick off Curzon played their familiar high tempo
game, pressing high up the pitch, with an aggressive loud
in your face style, clearing their lines at the earliest
opportunity. Great credit has to be given to the Mossley
youngsters who were instructed to stick to their normal
game plan of patient retention of the ball, whilst matching
the energy and aggression levels that we knew Curzon would
bring to the game.
The game was evenly matched for the first 45 mins with
Ben McNamara, Alex Byrne, Jordon Cuff and Joe Heap more
than matching their more senior and experienced opponents
in Midfield whilst Tom Clarke, Andy McKernon and the very
impressive debutante Matt Tierney were solid at back, marshalled
by Mossleys most experienced player on show Remi Salisbury.
Mossley played the ball around with confidence and ease
whilst standing up to Curzon's aggressive style and thought
they had made a break through on 28 mins when Salisbury
had the ball in the back of the net from a Mossley corner
but the goal was disallowed for an apparent push on the
Curzon keeper Buckley-Smith.
Curzon then replied with 2 chances of the own. First Glodi
Kuba-Kuba headed wide from 6 yards following a cross from
the left from Mike Linney, then 5 mins later it was Linney
who was guilty of a miss when he headed wide at the far
Mossley nearly broke the deadlock on 40 mins when Byrne
put Niall Swannick through one on one with the keeper only
to see his chipped effort sail over the bar. With 5 mins
remaining of the half Curzon applied pressure to the Mossley
goal but were unable to make a break through, with the Mossley
defence standing firm.
Mossley made a sloppy start to the second half, surrendering
possession far to easily and losing individual battles all
over the pitch. With the pressure increasing on the Mossley
goal Curzon made the break through on 55 mins. Linney played
in Aaron Best who turned his marker on the edge of the box
and left Joe Potts in the Mossley goal with no chance as
he slotted the ball in the bottom corner.
From the restart Curzon continued to take the game to Mossley
with the away team struggling to get a foot hold in the
game. A change was needed and with 60 mins gone Alex Clarke
replaced McNamara with Tierney reverting from centre back
to centre midfield. Tierney immediately began to make an
impact, injecting the pace and energy that had been missing
from the away teams game since the interval and Mossley
kicked into gear. They took the game by the scruff of the
neck and ran their more experienced opponents into the ground
with some crisp precise passing to feet and movement of
the ball that was a joy to watch. In addition to Tierney
and Byrne dominating in midfield, Heap and Cuff were now
terrorising their full backs.
On 67 mins Mossley got the goal that had been threatening.
Great dribbling skills from Heap on the left saw him cut
into the area and unleash an unstoppable shot through the
legs of the keeper.
Mossley were now in full flow dictating the pace of the
game at will, uterlising all areas of the pitch leaving
the home side chasing shadows at times.
The second came on 75 mins again from Heap but carved from
the skill and determination of Tierney who went for a ball
he had no right to win, taking the ball fairly whilst sending
his opponent three feet into orbit. He then proceeded to
play a delightful ball to Heap who again waltzed passed
two defenders before dispatching the ball passed Buckley-Smith
in the Curzon Goal.
Mossley continued to press for more goals with Nathan Tosum's
strength and control providing the home teams defence with
problems and on 82 mins a marauding run from Tosum saw him
brought down on the edge of the Curzon box. Heap immediately
claimed the ball and from the resulting free kick completed
his hatrick bending the ball around the wall into the corner
of the goal away from the keepers despairing dive.
With Mossley now enjoying every minute, Tosum got his name
on the score sheet. The very impressive McKernon dispossessed
the powerful Kuba-Kuba on the touch line near halfway, Byrne
seized on the loose ball and put Tosum through who scored
with a delightful chip over the keepers head to make it
With 3 mins of injury time played, Curzon scored an undeserved
second from a corner, when the Mossley defence lost concentration
from a corner which allowed Kuba-Kuba to rise unchallenged
at the far post.
What was pleasing from this game wasn't just the result
it was the way the young players stepped up to the mark.
They refused to be intimidated by their stronger and more
experienced opponents, matching their aggression all over
the pitch in a disciplined dignified manner, whilst playing
good entertaining football.
As they continue their education and develop, I think its
fair to say that Mossley have the brightest bunch of young
players coming through their ranks than any other semi professional
team in the area.
Report by Rob Byrne