Mossley 2 - 3 Ilkeston Town

When I decided to start the blog I fully intended to have a more optimistic outlook on things. Rather than the glass being half empty I really wanted to look at it as half full and find the silver lining in every cloud. The big stumbling block is that Mossley don't make it easy for you to do so.

I'd like to be able to sit here and write that we were desperately unfortunate to lose by the odd goal in five to Ilkeston but I can't - I'd be lying to myself and you. I can't even say that we were deserving of a point as Ilkeston effectively controlled the game from the first whistle of the match to the last, barring a five minute spell in the first half.

And it was in this spell that Mossley should have taken the lead. Terry Bowker, a centre half remember, made a fantastic run down the right wing before setting up a chance for Chris Downey. His shot was beaten out to Andy Thackeray on the edge of the six yard box but instead of taking it first time, the Mossley captain spent precious seconds trying to bring the ball under control and the chance was gone.

Joe Shaw shoots wide

Other than that Mossley were reduced to speculative efforts from distance that either flew high and wide or were comfortable for the keeper. At the other end of the pitch Ilkeston were continually looking dangerous and though the Mossley defence doing quite brilliantly in restricting their opportunities, occassionally a man would be left unmarked and a chance would open up.

It's in this manner that Ilson scored their first of the game in the 26th minute. A great move down the centre of the field ended with McSweeney launching a shot from the edge of the box that flew across Lee Bracey and into the back of the net.

By the start of the second half all the good things witnessed in the friendlies were nowhere to be seen. The quick passing and moving off the ball had been usurped by the dreaded return of the long ball from the back and instead of closing down opponents Mossley were giving Ilkeston time and space. And it was combination of this that allowed the visitors to double their lead.

A sloppy clearance allowed Ilkeston to press forward and I don't doubt that they were as surprised as the watching spectators to see the nine men Mossley had behind the ball give them all the time in the world they wanted. When the ball did break loose Lee Bracey should have claimed it but in remaining on his line he allowed Ilkeston to reclaim possession and work a square pass to where Muller applied the finish.

Knight and White set up Bingham for Mossley's first

A glimmer of hope was given to the Lilywhite's when Anthony Bingham scored with his first touch of the game after coming on as a substitue for the unfortunate Steve Burke, the former Bury man leaving the field with an injury after working tirelessly with little in the way support and balls to feed on. The corner the goal came from was courtesy of Mossley's first real attack of the half and minutes later a Mossley player had the ball in the net again from another corner.

Sadly though it was the goal at the wrong end of the pitch that Terry Bowker put his header into. The only real consolation he can have is that if he didn't do it, Kenny Mayers would probably have done so instead. Again it looked like 'game over' but from the first decent cross in open play all game Bingham once again reduced arrears, beating a couple of defenders to the ball to place a superb header into the net from 12 yards.

And that sadly, was that. With a possible, if somewhat undeserved, point in sight Mossley never threatened again. Instead they constantly gave away possession with a series of needless fouls (Rob Edwards being the worst offender) in their own half of the field allowing Ilson to run the clock down.

I'm desperately looking for something good to take out of today's performance and other than the first half defensive display and the much needed injection of pace from Bingham I'm struggling. I was under no illusions that this wasn't going to be anything other than a tough season but if we are to survive we have to get a whole lot better sooner rather than later.

Finally though, a big thank you to Nigel Jemson for the entertainment he provided for the Mossley supporters in the first half in his role as 'Manager With A Touchline Ban.' He took everything in the humorous way it was intended and proved to be up for a laugh whilst going about his job.

Now it's on to Marine which has way too many times in the past been a graveyard for Mossley teams. Let's hope we can upset the applecart, the odds, form and everything else.

Nigel Jemson's Motivational Bon Mots