youth team went into this top of the table clash with 7
players either injured or suspended and Fabio Abreu away
with England Schools U18 in Poland. As a result, Mossley
were forced to give 15 year old Reece McLaughlin his debut
in centre of midfield. The tempo of the game was high from
the start from both sides and given the small pitch space
was hard to come by with each team cancelling the other
out in the majority of the first half.
were hard to come by. Joe Heap sent over several testing
crosses that had the home teams defence in trouble but Mossley's
forwards failed to get on the end of any of them to test
Hayden Buckley-Smith in the FC Utd goal.
Cuff made several mazy runs through the home teams defence
but was unable to make any of the count At the other end
Mossley's defence coped comfortably with the home teams
lively forward line.
second half stated with FC Utd on the front foot but Mossley
soon began to push the league leaders further into their
mins a ball from Cuff was flicked into the path of Heap
by Wes Harny but as Heap was homing in on goal the poor
condition of the pitch got the better of him and the FC
Utd centre back was able to make up the ground to block
The home sides attacks were now restricted to to breaks
and it was from one of these breaks they forced a throw
in down Mossley's right side. Full back Ryan Lyons put a
long throw into the box which Mossley failed to deal with
and in the resulting melay Harrison Reeve pocked the ball
Mossley immediately reverted to 3-5-2 and increased the
pressure on the home sides goal creating chance after chance
but were unable to beat Buckley-Smith.
on 78 mins Tom Clarke burst into the box nodded the ball
over the home sides static defence only for the FC Utd centre
back to blatantly block off Clarke with his body leaving
the two of them on the ground. Astonishingly the referee
who had a perfect view of the incident waved play on.
The remaining 10 mins were played in darkness as the light
faded and no floodlights. During this period I lost count
of the number of times the home sides defence kicked the
ball out of the ground trying to keep their goal intact
such was the pressure Mossley were exerting on it.
With such an abundance of talented players on display from
both sides its only a shame that the game had to be played
on what can only be described as the worst playing surface
in the league.
by Rob Byrne