This was always going to be the tougher
test of the two fixtures, against a fresh big strong physical
Motherwell side who finished runners up in the Scottish Premier
Youth League last season behind Celtic and above Rangers,
and so it proved.
Playing their second game in two days, Mossley started
the brighter of the two teams and got their passing game going
from the start. Connor Hampson and Alex Byrne continued where
they had left off the previous day - dominating the centre
of the park with some smart interplay with Antony Dorney and
Joe Heap, who was playing in a more advanced position. Tom
Clarke and Kyle McDonagh were providing plenty of width and
along with full backs Ben Fletcher and Andy McKernon who were
getting forward at every oppertunity, Motherwell found themselves
stretched from the start.
Again, as with the previous day's game, Mossley took an early
lead through Alex Byrne who latched onto a Tom Clarke cross
from the left to ease the ball passed the Motherwell goalkeeper.
Mossley continued to boss the match in the early stages, matching
Motherwell's physical approach and denying supply to the two
big home sides forwards.
The home side were lucky not to go down to ten men on 35 mins
when one of the two Motherwell strikers caught Ben Fletcher
very late and high on his left knee, leaving a nasty trail
of stud marks, the referee deciding a stern talking to was
the appropriate course of action.
Mossley continued to create chances with Antony Dorney, Hampson
and Byrne all coming close. Motherwell's only real chance
of the half coming on 38 mins when they smashed a 25 yard
free kick off the cross bar.
During the half time interval the efforts of the last two
days were beginning to take their toll, with several players
complaining of niggling injuries and with Motherwell making
several changes notably switching their two strikers with
two equally strong ones Mossley knew that only a big effort
digging deep into their resolve would see us get anything
from the game.
As expected Motherwell began to cause their visitors problems
from the start, bringing their strikers into play when ever
possible. The Mossley back four were equal to the task with
the very impressive Mike Jones making an outstanding last
ditch tackle in the 18 yard box, relieving the ball from the
man in text book fashion.
On 50 mins Dorney had to be replaced with Shaun Chapman after
suffering a groin strain and Heap went down with an ankle
Although Motherwell continued to mount pressure on the Mossley
back four, they stood firm and limited the chances on Nick
Howard's goal, whilst refusing to surrender their passing
game and began to carve out a few chances themselves through
Heap and Chapman.
When it seemed like Motherwell had run out of ideas they equalised
with 13 minutes remaining. Mossley failed to clear their lines
from a corner and when the ball came back into the box it
was looped over Howard's head to a big roar from the home
From the restart it was Mossley who went looking for a winner
and Hampson was unlucky with a superb 25 yard effort tipped
over the bar by the Motherwell keeper.
With seven minutes left Ben Fletcher tried lobbing the keeper
from 25 yards with the home keeper doing very well to get
back to his goal and again tip the ball over the bar.
Mossley were now dominating and in injury time Tom Clarke
nearly won the game for Mossley from a corner but only managed
to put the ball over the bar on the goal line at the far post
when totally unmarked.
Over the course of the two days the youth team have been a
credit to Mossley AFC not only in the manner they have conducted
themselves on the pitch but also off it.
If they continue to show the progress they have shown in pre
season, it won't be long before you are reading about them
in the first team.
report by Rob Byrne