Mossley 0 - 3 Matlock Town

Stunning. Excellent. Bravissimo.

Just a few of the many words that Mossley supporters leaving Seel Park last night weren't using to describe the performance they'd just witnessed.

No doubt there's someone somewhere currently structuring an argument that the comprehensive 3-0 defeat, to a team that rarely got out of first gear, was brimming with positives. They'll say that we had a few chances and looked okay for a few short spells but they'd be missing the bigger picture. It'd be like someone present at Fred West's house whilst they were removing bodies from the walls only remarking on the wonderful quality of the plastering.

The facts are that eight games into the new season we've won two and lost five. Of the four we've played at home, three have ended in defeat and the one we actually won is currently being reconstructed by Crimewatch after complaints of a mugging from Burscough. We're nowhere near having a settled starting eleven; players are being moved musical chair-like from position to position, seemingly in the vain hope that a magic formula is stumbled upon; young, inexperienced players are being parachuted in and unfairly saddled with the expectations of trying to turn around what looks to everyone like a ship taking on water. And if that isn't bad enough, metaphors are now starting to get mixed!

Mossley actually started the game the brighter with debutant Rob Dawson looking lively on the right wing, supplying a couple of good crosses before the service all but dried up. There was then an air of the all too familiar as Matlock started to take control of proceedings and it became a question of when, not if, they would score. That it came as early as the 11th minute surprised no-one.

Their first came courtesy of the now patented 'Mossley Defensive Cock-up' © - a corner from the left wasn't dealt with and Terry Bowker put the ball in his own net whilst under pressure from the two Matlock players he'd been left to mark. Six minutes, and numerous hearts in the mouth moments, later the lead was doubled; Matlock completely outfoxing the Lilywhites by cunningly walking around them with the ball, leaving Barraclough to apply the finishing touch.

Between the two goals Mossley almost grabbed an equaliser when Steve Burke saw an effort from the edge of the box thunder off the underside of the bar but, apart from a James Tyrell-Nestor in the closing moments of the game, that was about as good as it got for the home side.

The Derbyshire side added a third twelve minutes into the second period, Barraclough reacting the quickest to pick up the loose ball from a Trueman save and grab his second of the night. Moments later they should have been given the opportunity to grab a fourth from twelve yards but, amazingly, the referee ignored the appeals for what appeared to be a cast iron penalty. Who say's we don't have any luck? After that Matlock took their foot off the pedal and the game slowly (and I do mean slowly) drew towards its inevitable conclusion.

Best on the night for the home side was Steve Burke. Despite having little support he ran from the first minute to the last. Whilst other more experienced players were walking around waiting for the game to end he was still chasing down opponents and looking for space. Rob Dawson did reasonably well on the few occasions that the ball was given to him but apart from that there was little else to cheer. The defence, the brightspot of the season so far, appeared to be channeling the spirit of Atherton Collieries whilst the midfield, I believe, have been reported to the police as missing persons.

At least we now have the opportunity to revel in going 10 days without a losing a league game thanks to the FA Cup but will things be better when Guiseley make the trip to Seel Park on the 23rd? Or can it get worse?

Hang on, strike that last one - it's a stupid question...