Mossley 3 - 2 Burscough

Or as it should be titled: The Trueman Show

Let's make no mistake, as good as the victory was we couldn't have had any complaints if we'd ended up on the losing side. As I write this there'll be a coach heading towards West Lancashire full of players and supporters feeling like they've been mugged but I have little sympathy because a) - it has happened to us so many times in the past it's nice to be dishing it out for a change and b) they only have themselves to blame.

Like Ilkeston in the first match of the season ten days earlier, the weather was atrocious and Mossley seemingly willingly allowed their opponents to control the opening stages of the game. For ten minutes the ball never appeared to leave the Lilywhite's half as Mossley voluntarily sat deeper and deeper, virtually asking Burscough to come at them. And come at them they did. Mossley's reluctance to challenge or even harry the man on the ball allowed Burscough to create numerous chances and gave keeper Danny Trueman a few stretching exercises in readiness for his acrobatics later on in the game.

The similarities to the Ilkeston game increased when the visitors took the lead immediately after Mossley's first attack. Good work by Paul Garvey on the wing allowed him to find his strike partner with an inch perfect cross that Anthony Bingham hammered against the cross bar (though it has to be said that the velocity of his header was assisted by his arm which went unnoticed by the referee. Burscough reclaimed possesion, broke upfield and an unmarked Price stroked the ball into the net from the edge of the area.

Danny Trueman produces the first of many great saves in the second half...

Mossley's response was almost immediate as things went from the sublime to the ridiculous. The sublime was Bingham's solo run into the box where he showed great control and balance to beat three lunging tackles. The ridiculous came when Burscough keeper McMillan allowed Bingham's mis-hit daisy cutter to roll slowly through his hands and legs before trickling over the line for the equaliser. A bit of free advice for McMillan: next your hands are near the ball, try gripping it. Our ancestors didn't spend millions of years evolving thumbs for nothing.

The game then took an horrific turn for the worse as Burscough left back Bowen sickeningly crashed head first through the concrete pitch surround necessitating a hold up of over twenty minutes as he received treatment and awaited the ambulance. Thnakfully early reports suggest that his injuries are nowhere near as serious as they could have been and I'm sure I speak for many others as well by saying that I hope he's back up and playing as soon as possible.

...and then another one from the resultant corner

When the game restarted it was Bursough that got back into the groove of things the quickest and they forced Trueman in to making a superb double save to keep out an overhead kick and its follow up. Any hopes he had for a quieter second period were quashed almost from the kick-off as he pulled off a string of excellent saves to keep Mossley in the game.

At this point it looked like there was only going to be one winner as Burscough created chance after chance but with 20 minutes of the game remaining Mossley took the lead. A perfectly weighted free-kick from Joe Shaw was met by an unmarked Melford Knight and the Lilywhite's captain planted a firm header past the static keeper. Burscough pressed forward looking for the equaliser and were rewarded when Price whacked an effort from 20 yards in off the underside of the crossbar for his and Burscough's second of the game.

Melford Knight puts Mossley ahead for the first time

Two minutes later the game swung back in Mossley's favour. Burscough needlessly conceded a free kick on the left and once again Joe Shaw swung in an inch perfect delivery. This time it was Danny White who rose unmarked to head past McMillan, the keeper once again looking like he was participating in a semi-professional game of musical statues.

Joe Shaw watches as Danny White steers in his free-kick for Mossley's winner

Back came Burscough again but this time their efforts came to nothing thanks to Trueman pulling off a couple more saves, Danny White heading off the line as the ball rebounded off the crossbar and Joel Pilkington making a superb last ditch tackle to deny a Burscough forward from six yards.

We can sit and think about what the score would have been if it wasn't Trueman' s saves or any of the other last ditch blocks and tackles but the fact remains that Mossley have made it a six point bank holiday weekend, something which doesn't happen very often. Of course we rode our luck at times and won with goals courtesy of our only two attacks of the second half but as long as we learn from the mistakes made in the game and start defending further up the pitch (i.e. tackling an opponent to win the ball instead of marking the space they may move into), victories will be slightly less fraught.