Fleetwood Town P - P Mossley

It turned out to be a long way for nothing for quite a few people on Saturday as, with less than an hour to kick off, Mossley’s trip to the coast was rendered futile.

Why the match referee should deem a pitch to be unplayable when a) there had been no rain in the five hours since it was passed fit by a local official and b) both sides wanted to play will no doubt have the veil of secrecy used by drawn over it.

A quick look at the Fleetwood Town message board will give you some idea of the anger and bewilderment the decision to cancel caused and if some of the comments posted are true (and I’ve no reason to doubt that they aren’t other than to protect myself against any future libel proceedings) then the least both sets of clubs and their supporters deserve is an apology and, in a gesture that’s not likely to happen whilst time is still measured, some recompense for a wasted afternoon.

However there were a few Mossley supporters who did manage to get their weekend fix of non-league football. After making the decision not to travel to Fleetwood less than 24 hours earlier, the search for another match began in earnest and with Stalybridge being the solitary local side playing at home there was only one decision: off to Salford versus Curzon in the NWCL League Cup Quarter-Final.

Actually there was two but it was only after monies had exchanged hands with the turnstile operator at Moor Lane and the offer to buy a DVD of Salford’s victory over FCUB was refused did we realise that by turning right instead of left at Junction 17 of the M60, we could have watched Radcliffe Borough take on North Ferriby in a game that would have had consequences, good or bad, on Mossley’s fight for survival.

Salford’s ground hasn’t changed much since Mossley last played there four years ago. In fact it hasn’t changed at all! The biggest difference is actually just outside where the pub that was handy for a quick u-turn in the car has disappeared under the concrete and red brick of a new housing estate.

The other noticeable anomaly was that Salford City appear to have developed a fan base. It seems the days of one man, his dog and that old bloke who sat in his car beeping the horn have gone and in their place there’s people actually singing, cheering and shouting encouragement. It was genuinely good to see a club that looked like it was starting to pick itself up off the pitch and I’m sure it’s something that Curzon will have looked at enviously.

Despite the phenomenal season the blue Ashton side are having they’re just not attracting the crowds. Of course they’ve never been the best supported of sides but that so few of their supporters could travel the short distance for a local derby is ridiculous. Out of the official attendance of 151 there couldn’t have been more than a handful of the regulars who attend games at the Tameside Stadium.

Anyway, back to Saturday. When Mossley last played at Moor Lane both sides took to the field with the music of the Cheeky Girls blaring out over the P.A system and though crowds may have improved it soon became apparent that their record collection hadn’t. The music that Curzon emerged from the changing rooms to wasn’t a problem (whilst many music fans regularly poor scorn on Joey Tempest’s magnum opus, I actually quite like ‘The Final Countdown’), the cringing really began when Salford made their way onto the pitch five minutes later.

When you’re pumped up for a derby match in the quarter finals of a cup competition against one of the form teams in the league and the manager’s team talk is still ringing in your ears, can their be anything more deflating than setting foot onto the pitch to the sounds of your own supporters being drowned out by ‘Its Raining Men’ over the public address system? Not that the Curzon players had anything to snigger about; lest we not forget that they still run out at home to the sound of Gary Glitter.

Before we were treated to a rendition of ‘I Am What I Am’ and a Bette Midler medley the referee got the match underway. In fact you’re probably wondering at this point why after 900+ words there’s been no mention of any actual passages of play and there’s a good reason for that: there wasn’t actually that much to write about. Curzon looked like their minds were focused elsewhere, which is hardly surprising given the FA Vase game next week, and Salford were struggling to build on the solid foundation their defence had given them.

That’s not to say it wasn’t an end to end affair but it wasn’t until the closing stages of the first half that the score line came anywhere close to being threatened; the home side seeing efforts come back off the post on no less than two occasions.

Even though I took camera to the game I couldn't be bothered to take any pictures. So in order to break up a huge body of text, here's a picture of America's answer to Frank Spencer playing cricket:

The arrival of the interval meant it was time to see how Mossley were going on in West Lancashire. Obviously I didn’t know at this point that the match had been postponed due to a squishy pitch and I was similarly unaware of that situation after I’d phoned up Highbury for the half-time score. “Nil –nil” may have technically been an accurate response but I’d have much preferred to have been told of that the game actually gone ahead. That way I wouldn’t have spent a fortune ringing up at full-time to get an answer machine that was similarly lacking in postponement news.

It wasn’t just the spectators that had turned up in large numbers either. The ground, like an over producing zip factory was suffering from a severe fly infestation. The effect it had was to make it seem like a Magnus Pike fan club convention was taking place on the terraces such was the amount of arm waving going on. It got to the point where serious thought was given to having an ‘al fresco’ dump behind the stand in an attempt to give the little blighters something else to focus their attention on. Thankfully though the second half coincided with the rain the Met office had promised and the frantic semaphoring the crowd appeared to be partaking in quickly subsided.

The second period was an altogether more sprightly affair, due in no small part to both teams deciding to try and injure one another in as ridiculous manner as possible. With the announcement during the week that the Ultimate Fighting Championships were coming to the Manchester Arena, it appeared that a few players believed the match was an open audition for a spot on the bill a mile down the road. The highlight of this Bruce Lee-athon came when after receiving treatment for a late challenge, Curzon’s Mike Norton returned to the action muttering something about not caring if he got sent off before attempting try on a pair of socks that the Salford left-back still happened to be wearing. That Salford managed to give as good as they got was amazing considering that with their spindly bodies and closely shaved heads it looked like they were on day release from a gulag.

The referee deserves enormous credit for managing to keep a lid on proceedings without showing anyone the red card and the reward was a final fifteen minutes where both sides actually tried to score a few goals instead. Salford were extremely unfortunate to have a goal ruled out for offside before Curzon re-enacted the home sides late first-half showing by hitting the framework of the goal twice in the closing stages.

For the second time in two weeks a game we’d gone to as neutrals was to be decided by extra-time and for the second time in two weeks we left before it got underway; the prospect of an extra half-hour of similar fare being less than enticing than an invitation to be flayed and dipped in vinegar.

On the journey home the fate of the Mossley game was discovered via a Fleetwood official who was still audibly seething at the match being called off. And after a warm, wet and insect saturated afternoon in Salford, the prospect of an early spring trip the tropical climes of, er… the Wyre coastline seems positively luxurious.

Off To Fleetwood! Again...

If the wet weather that's worrying a fair few Town fans on their message boards eases up, Mossley should be making their second trip of the season to the Fylde coast to take on Fleetwood Town. And barring some mini-miracle occuring between now and the final whistle at Gateshead on the last day of the season, there's a good chance that this could be the last journey we'll be making to Highbury for some time.

In fact the threat of global warming means it could turn out to be our last ever visit before FY7 disappears under the Irish Sea. On the bright side though, in the event of all those coastal and low lying sides being submerged under the rising seas, Mossley should jump up a couple of leagues or so by virtue of people not having to swim to the ground to attend matches.

Our previous sodjourn to Fleetwood this season took place last November when Mossley went down 2-1 in the League Cup; the long since departed Chris Ward scoring our goal from the penalty spot a rare event in Mossley's recent history. When I say departed I don't mean in the 'dead' sense of the word but that he left to join another club. And as that club was Clitheroe I'll leave it up to you to make up your own puncline.

Fleetwood had a phenomenal start to life back in the Unibond Premier following their promotion from the First Division last season. Sadly for them they were unable to keep the momentum going and currently lie thirteenth in the league on thirty nine points but, due to cup runs and the predictably lousy nature of the British climate, they have enough games in hand to make a go of claiming a play-off spot with a late end of season run. They go into this match unbeaten in three games (four if you include their victory over Grantham in the League Cup) and have scored in each of their last twelve league games.

The Lilywhite's on the other hand take to the field with four points under their belts from the last eighteen available. Or if you want to look at things in a more depressing light, ten from the fifty one possible since our last home league win almost five months ago.

Prediction: Call me a dreamer but I seriously think we can and will win. If we have any intentions of avoiding the drop then we've got to start pulling off some surpring results against good teams and Fleetwood's as giood a place as any to start. However, whilst we may be lacking the experienced goalscorer we need to pull ourselves out of the relegation quicksand, at least history is on our side as we haven't lost a league game at Fleetwood for five years. Little comfort it may be but it's a straw and I'm going to clutch at it.

Mossley 1 - 2 North Ferriby United

No meandering opening paragraphs seguing into a description of on field events this time around I'm afraid – it’s straight into the doom and gloom.

It would be nice to be able to sit here in font of the PC and look at things in a positive light but I doubt that even the world’s foremost spin doctor could do little to persuade anyone that the defeat to North Ferriby United on Saturday was anything other than another step towards the gallows and the inevitable drop through the trap door.

I’d like to describe the first half as an ‘edge of the seat affair’ but as this is a factual report and not a work of fiction, I can’t. The truth is that if the match had been attached to a life support monitor in A&E it would have been pronounced dead long before the first real chance of the game registered a blip. Working an opening by cutting in from the left around the half hour mark, Clive Moyo-Modise (who from this point on will be referred to as Clive or M&M) hit a rising shot that crashed onto the crossbar. All told it was an impressive debut for the loan signing from Rochdale, particularly when you consider that the assistance he had was negligible.

M&M watches as his fierce shot makes its way towards the crossbar.

And therein lies the problem: you can chop and change the personnel in attack till you’re blue in the face but they’ll only ever be as good as the supply line that’s feeding them and on Saturday they almost died of starvation. Apart from yet another age belying display from David Eyres Mossley’s midfield was invisible. Not only did it isolate a young and inexperienced forward line (how many times did M&M drop back 30-40 yards in order to get the ball?) but it left a defence that underwent two reshuffles in the space of fifteen minutes due to injuries vulnerable as well.

That’s not to say that Mossley didn’t have plenty of possession, they did. It’s just that they did absolutely nothing with it. Of all the corners won and numerous free-kicks awarded around the visitor’s penalty area, not one went close to troubling Pecora in the Ferriby goal. Truth be told, there wasn’t much happening at the other end of the pitch either. The men from Humberside were labouring just as much as we were so it came as something of a shock when they took the lead five minutes from the interval.

One of the rare efforts that was actually on target.

Fittingly the goal came courtesy of the one decent bit of football the game had seen up to that point with the home defence being carved open by an inch perfect through ball after possession had been surrendered cheaply in midfield. The following cross into the box was just as good but the finish was solely down to good fortune. With Joel Pilkington quickly closing him down, Bolder stabbed at the ball only for it to bobble up off his shin, loop over Steve Wilson and land in the net. But with over forty five minutes still to play there was a good deal of optimism around that Mossley could step up a gear and rescue the game. Unfortunately that belief didn’t last long.

Even before Mossley conceded a sloppy goal twelve minutes into the second period from a corner there was little on show to suggest that the home side had any interest in rescuing the game. For 35 minutes Mossley made their supporters wistfully reminisce about the halcyon days of the first half.

It would be nice think that United’s numerous opportunities to further increase their advantage during the half were due solely to Mossley leaving gaps at the back as they pushed forward in search of a way back into the game but, sadly, it wasn’t. With the midfield still existing in name only rather than in physical evidence on the pitch the Lilywhites performance was becoming more and more disjointed. That’s not to say that there weren’t some bright spots. The reshuffled back line was performing admirably and Clive was continuing to carve out a few half chances for himself.

As has been so often the case this season, two goals down and with supporters glancing at their watches to see how long it would be before they’re finally put of their misery, Mossley suddenly decided to make a fist of it. By the simple act of pushing a bit further up the pitch they started to look a bit more menacing and when M&M squeezed the ball under Pecora to half the deficit with seven minutes remaining it should have set up a grandstand finish.

Melford rushes to retrieve the ball after Clive pulls one back for Mossley.

But for all the huff and puff displayed in those closing moments there was little constructive play other than to bang the ball at every available opportunity into a melee in the penalty area. The sum total of which was just one more shot on target (Clive once again) and it all proved to be another case of too little too late.

The 'last chance' about to be cleared off the line.

So another home match, another defeat and another one to a decidedly average opposition - our tenth in the fourteen league games played at Seel Park so far this season; an extraordinary record even for a team in our current predicament.

However I’m sure that when the manager’s interviewed for the Oldham Chronicle this week it will be yet another tale of gross misfortune and how we deserved a point once the Pavlovian response to being two goals down in the final ten minutes kicked in but, whilst it may fool those whose only view of the game was reading the result in the paper, it’s a hard luck story that will carry no sympathy with those who saw the match with their own eyes.

There are plenty of questions that come to mind as well like why the introduction of the pace and bustle that Steve Burke provides was done so at the expense of another forward when were two goals down? Alex Taylor may not have been having the best of games but he was contributing more than some other players.

A scramble during Mossley's 'kitchen sink' phase in the last ten minutes.

We're in the fight of our lives yet we're chucking inexperienced players on to the pitch in the desperate hope that they can turn things around. Two years ago the supporters were criticised for expecting too much out of young players in the drive for a play-off spot. Yet now young players are being expected to drag us out of what is an even tougher situation, especially upfront where the need for goals weighs heavily on two teenagers and a twenty year old?

Who knows what the next two months hold for us? Maybe the prospect of playing better opposition in the next two games will bring out the best in us but one thing is for certain, more performances like this one and we'll soon be drinking out the drips tray in the last chance saloon.

Chip Wrappers: Extra

Yes, it's back!

It's been briefly brought out of hibernation specifically for the following which is from the match report in tonight's Oldham Chronicle for last Saturday's game:

The visitors snatched the lead late in the opening period after the fates again conspired against the Lilywhites when Chris Bolder’s shot was deflected off Stephen Sheil and looped over keeper Steve Wilson.
I'll say the fates conspired against us if it defelected off SAS; he was sat on the bench at the time!

It was hardly worth it wasn't it?

A match report on Saturday's game will be up on the blog once I work up the enthusiasm to re-focus on a game that contained little football of note to get excited about. When it does arrive though there'll be now mentions of "just being unlucky" or making reference to aimlessly throwing everyone forward in the last ten minutes being some kind of masterplan. Put it this way, why should we applaud the efforts of those final ten minutes in attempting to get a draw when there was precious little invention and nous shown in some quarters over the course of the preceeding 80 minutes in trying to obtain all three points?

Anyhoo, in the meantime, here's a picture of Mossley's defence keeping a close eye on Monty Panesar:

North Ferriby Are Coming!

Following a week consisting of mostly pleasant weather, its sudden change to non-stop rain can only mean one thing - that Mossley are due to play at home. Now this may lead some of you to believe that it's a sign that someone up there doesn't like us but I look on it as affirmation of a merciful deity considering some of the woeful performances and poor form we've seen at Seel Park this season.

Still, if the match does go ahead it's an opportunity for Mossley to exact some revenge for the late, late show North Ferriby put an at Grange Lane to claim the three points earlier in the season. United scored twice in the closing stages of the game to cancel out and ultimately surpass Steven Sheils’s opener and give a desperately dull game a score line it didn’t deserve (to refresh your memory, click here). As with most of the 'return' games played this season, the Mossley side taking to the field this Saturday will be a completely different line-up with only four of those who travelled to Humberside in September likely to feature.

In keeping with what's happened so many times already season, Mossley will be facing a side that's just hit a bit of form. The 3-1 victory over Ashton United last weekend was North Ferriby's first in the league for three months, a period during which they were overturned 5-1 at home by the then rock bottom side Leek Town. However the Lilywhites have also hit a bit of form themselves with four points from the last two games but the fly in the ointment is still the fact that they haven't won a home game for over four months.

Despite their recent poor run of form North Ferriby currently lie in sixteenth position in the league table, four places and twelve points ahead of their hosts this Saturday. United have won two and drawn five of the fifteen league games played away from home; the vast majority of them being low scoring affairs too with only twenty two goals being scored in total (five of those coming in the one game at Burscough), North Ferriby's contribution being just eight.

Prediction: The last time the two sides met at Seel Park both teams had a lot riding on the outcome. On the final day of the 2004/05 season Mossley needed a point to make certain of a play-off place and North Ferriby needed a win to claim the Unibond First Division League title. This time around it's only Mossley who are in a must-win situation and, as such, the necessity of the three points will see the Lilywhites prove too strong in a high/low* scoring game.

* Delete as applicable after the match to make yourself look incredibly all knowing

In The Neutral Zone

With the weather providing yet another enforced break for most teams in the north of England, it was off to the artificially assisted standby of Woodley Sports for those of us desperate to see a live game of football.

Sadly it appeared that not many other people shared this enthusiasm. Even though it was the only game in the area that was going ahead it was a poor turnout on the terraces, even by Woodley’s standards. If it wasn’t for the Mossley contingent, a couple of Buxton fans who always turn up when their games called off, an assortment of other neutrals, a small band of away supporters, the match assessor and scouts from numerous league clubs filling up the seats in the stand the place would’ve been a claustrophobics idea of heaven.

Besides it being the only game within an hours drive that was actually on (although I have since discovered that Oldham Town’s home game went ahead too), the match had a couple of other draws. The first being that it was a chance to see how a now Ally Pickering-less Sport’s side would fare and secondly, it was the opportunity to see a team I’d never seen before – Harrogate Railway, the north Yorkshire town’s least popular football club; a status I assume it’s achieved through the lack of anyone with a sane mind wanting to associate themselves with the horrific red and green colour combination the side play in.

Now at this point I’d normally go on to describe the proceedings on the pitch with the odd pithy comment thrown in for good measure too but due to the lack anything truly of note happening in ninety minutes of football I can’t. If it wasn’t for the four goals I’m almost certain that my insomnia would have been cured for all time there and then.

And of those four goals it was only the first that was any quality. A metre or two off the touchline and just inside the Woodley box, Harrogate striker Graham Marchant hit a stunning shot past a bemused Higginbotham. I use the word stunning because that’s the effect it had on what crowd there was. After the majority of those present had uttered two words (the second of them being “me!”) the applause started to ring out for one of the best goals I’ve seen for some time; remarkably similar to van Basten’s famous effort against the USSR in Euro ’88. Albeit on plastic pitch in the Unibond League Chairman’s University Challenge Trophy Cup Shield and in front of a less than worldwide audience of 114.

Woodley looked to have tied things just before the break when Adam Morning’s tussle with a defender saw the ball bounce off the Harrogate players head and loop over a goalkeeper who appeared to be demonstrating what is meant by ‘no-mans land’ to any budding etymologists who happened to be in attendance.

A minute before the break Railway retook the lead with a goal that the Non-League Paper described as "disputed" but was nothing of the sort. A goalmouth scramble that could have been dealt with a number of times by the home defence ended with Scott Ryan hitting a shot towards goal that Higginbotham did well to
claw away. Unfortunately for the Woodley keeper the ball was a good foot over the line when he got his hands to it and the assistant referee quite rightly flagged for a goal. The Woodley players didn’t kick up any fuss about it so where the “dispute” comes in is anyone’s guess.

Other than the three goals there was little to get excited about but as the second half wore on you began to look back fondly on that opening period as the game became a real test of endurance for the paying spectators. If it wasn’t for the art of conversation I’m convinced that seppuku would have been the entertainment of choice for those of us stood on the terraces. A few people took to watching the grass grow which on an artificial surface is, as those previously mentioned etymologists pointed out, the very definition of optimism.

With the game and crowd almost out of its misery Woodley ignored the ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ sign and substitue Peter Wild (with his first touch) scored the scrappiest of goals in the final minute to give the game an extra half-hour of life; an act that was greeted with little joy, even from the home support. Frankly though, enough was enough. The thought of another thirty minutes of similar fare and the spectre of a penalty shoot-out was too much to bear and about as welcome as a Norfolk turkey with a bit of a cough so the decision was made to head home; a choice that a surprisingly large number of other people made as well despite the constant announcements from afew people that the tie wasn’t finished yet.

The afternoon wasn’t a complete loss though. A half-time chat with the match assessor was not only informative but a good laugh too and it was interesting to see a group of away supporters (a players relatives I think) continually disassociating themselves from a gathering of away fans at the opposite end of the stand. Not that I blame them either because if I followed Harrogate Railway I'd have been embarrassed by them as well. It was like the opposite of Life on Mars - that they'd been sent forward from the 70's to the 21st Century. Still the irony of someone who'd be easier to jump over when they were standing up rather than lying down abusing someone else for being overweight (when they they clearly weren't) never fails to amuse.

The brave souls who did stay to the bitter end though apparently got to see Woodley gain passage through to the semi-finals of the competition with a 113th minute goal by Russell Headley, but I like to think that those who got home in time to watch TV Burp and get warm were the real winners.

Heavy Weather

After the weather once again took it's toll on Mossley's season, the home league match against Radcliffe Borough has been rearranged for the last day of winter - Tuesday, 20th March.

Admittedly this isn't a particularly exciting post but as the blog has gone completely screwy at the technical end (flipping Google and Gmail) I'm not really in the mood for jocularity.

Hopefully normal service will be resumed later on this week.

Radcliffe Borough Are Coming!

Here we go! The mini-season of numerous 'six pointers' that we'll be facing over the coming weeks begins in earnest as Radcliffe Borough make the short trip around the M60 to Seel Park, their first league visit for twelve years. Whether they actually get to play is another matter entirely.

Not for the first time this season the vagaries of the British weather means that the chances of the game going ahead are still pretty much in the balance. Though the snow we've had is only a dusting at most, the frost (Seel Park's greatest nemesis), sub-zero temperatures and biting easterly winds mean you're more likely to see Sir Ranulph Fiennes making his away across the penalty area at the Park End than James Turley this Saturday.

Still, we live in hope and if the match does go ahead it's going to be the first of many big ones (oo-er, fnar, wahey, snigger, etc.) that we'll be involved in for the forseeable future. With games against Grantham, Leek, Kendal and North Ferriby on the horizon it's a must win game for not only Mossley but their visitors too. A victory for either side would leave their vanquished opponents grip on a Unibond Premier League place even more precarious than it was before the kick-off, whilst a draw could allow Leek Town to gain ground and possibly leapfrog both of them. It's safe to say that there's going to be some fraught nerves watching this one.

Mossley will be hoping for a repeat of September's 3-1 victory at Stainton Park, a result which (along with the following home and away performances against Whitby) had supporters believing that the corner had been turned following our less than auspicious start to the season. If only we knew then what we know now - that the corner was actually a sharp u-turn. Ahh... the naivete of youth.

Since that match both sides have undergone a few changes, the Lilywhite's in particular are likely to field barely a handful of the players who helped to gain those three valuable points last Autumn. Meanwhile recent departures at Borough have seen Chris Downey leave to concentrate on his business which means the threat of one goal we were bound to concede has gone.

Radcliffe currently occupy the position directly above Mossley in the league table but despite having an advantage of two points over the Lilywhite's they've also played two games more. On 'foreign' soil Borough have managed just one win and five draws this season which is the second worst away record in the league. However those eight points gained match the sum total of Mossley's achievements at Seel Park since August. Is it the recipe for a memorable meeting between two equally matched sides or the perfect ingredients for one of the worst games you're likely to see for some time? Only time and the weather will tell.

Prediction: As we're currently on our second best run of form this season (four points from two games) I think Mossley's confidence will be higher than that of Borough's and, if we can put in the full ninety minutes, we'll pick up the win. Besides, it can't be anything less can it?

And in a bit of late news, if the game does go ahead you'll be able to see match highlights and post game interviews on Channel M (Sky channel 203) four times between 5:00pm and 7:00pm and in their hour long 9:00pm bulletin.

Mossley 0 - 0 Prescot Cables

In football you win some and you lose some. Matches where you don’t do either tend to be draws and the fixture against Prescot Cables was one of those occasions.

Now I’ll happily admit that the above paragraph is hardly the most scintillating opening to a match report ever written (and somewhat redundant given that the heading is also the score line) but its use to describe what was hardly the most scintillating of football matches seems somehow appropriate.

There’s an old saying that goes along the line of you can tell how good something is by how quickly time seems to fly – tempus fugit when you’re having fun - but the first half last Saturday it felt like it was going backwards.

A brief moment of excitement. Last Saturday.

It seems churlish to complain about the lack of ‘excitement’ after having half a lifetime’s (or rather halving a lifetime’s) worth in the final ten minutes at Leek the previous Saturday, but once again it was another home match where there was very little happening on the pitch for the crowd to get behind., especially in the opening period.

The travelling Cables supporters were marginally better served for the first forty-five minutes with the visitors continually pouncing on every misplaced pass Mossley made (of which there were many), only to be let down by some ridiculously bad finishing.

A real tableau of despair. It’s heads in hands time for the visitors as Price, with only Trueman to beat, gets cocky and tries to knock the ball in with the outside of his left foot; a decision that’s not particularly clever one when you’re stood almost at right angles to the target!

Though Mossley were struggling to make any sort of mark on the game they almost snatched the lead twice in the closing stages of the half. First of all David Eyres went close to punishing Prescot keeper McMahon’s poor up field clearance by looping the ball just the wrong side of the post from thirty-five yards. Then with virtually the last kick before the interval McMahon redeemed himself for his earlier error by saving a close range effort from Joe Shaw.

Label me as “not a proper supporter” if you want but for the majority of that first forty five minutes I felt a certain detachment from proceedings. Other than the two late chances there was little on display that drew you into the game and if you didn’t know better it would have looked for all the world like it was a friendly or mid-table end of season match. Thankfully things improved enough in the second half to give the vocal cords a bit of a work out.

Prescot Cables bid to make the Guinness Book of Records for the biggest number of gilt edged chances screwed wide for a goal kick continues unabated.

You’ve all probably seen a film or TV programme where due to the accidental use of some mystical maguffin, a curse or, if it’s Star Trek, an anomaly, the characters personalities swap bodies with dramatic and/or hilarious consequences. And whilst watching these events play out you’ve know doubt commented on how preposterous and nonsensical it all is but apparently it really does happen. Goodness knows what artefact was rubbed or magical incantation uttered during the fifteen minute break but the teams that emerged for the restart certainly weren’t the ones that left the pitch at a quarter to four.

The second half was a complete reversal. Suddenly Mossley were the side in the ascendancy, constantly pressing forward and creating chances whilst Prescot were struggling to string two passes together. Unfortunately the ‘swap’ didn’t end there as the Lilywhites displayed exactly the same acumen in front of goal that their guests had shown in the first half whilst Prescot twice went close to wrapping up the points in the final moments of the game.

At this point I should go in to detail about Melford Knight’s disallowed goal, Danny Trueman’s low save from Karl Connolly and the ex-Wrexham man’s last minute free-kick which flew narrowly wide but I think that sums everything up well enough.

Gooooaaaaa… oh, no it isn’t.

I’m sure that there are some people who’d have gladly accepted a point if it was offered to them before a ball was kicked. However the reality is that it’s another game where an attainable three points has once again slipped between our fingers through our inability to play for ninety minutes or unduly worry the opposition keeper outside of dead ball situations. Whilst not dragging us out of the mire we currently find ourselves in, the solitary point won does at least chip a little bit more away from the gap between us and Kendal even if it has allowed Leek to claw back the gap we opened up last week.

However the most pressing concern has got to be where our next goal is going to come from. With the expected departure of Peter Wright and Alex Taylor with us for only two more games at the very least it looks like a huge and unfair burden is about to be dropped onto the shoulders of Steve Burke. He’s going to need some help and I’m sure that I’m not the only supporter who’s keeping their fingers and toes crossed that a goal scorer or two will be making their debuts in a white shirt before too long.

Still, it was good to see that no matter how much has changed in the four years since we last met, it was the Prescot Cables that we know and love – the one that has the innate ability to make every tackle they lose out fairly in seem like they're a victim of the most horrendous foul ever committed on a football pitch. Honestly, there are people having their genitals wired up to the mains in Guantanamo Bay who make less noise than a Cables player who’s just had the ball stolen off his toe.

Anyway, focus now turns towards next Saturday’s visit of Radcliffe Borough where a home win will see us leapfrog our North Manchester rivals. All in all it should be a more edge of the seat encounter than this one.

Prescot Are Coming!

First of all my apologies for the brevity of this review. I could provide a list of reasons as to why it's so short but the simple truth of the matter is that I completely forgot about doing it. Therefore what follows will be just the facts and no waffle. Yes, I thought that'd please you.

Following what has been a season of up's and down's for them so far, Cables currently sit mid-table in eleventh position on 39 points. In fact it wasn't so long ago that they were down at the bottom end of the table with us but, having refound the form they showed in the first few weeks of season, they've steadily put distance between themselves and the strugglers; the eleven points gained from their last six outings having helped immensely.

Away from Valerie Park in this league campaign Prescot have managed just three wins and four draws. Whilst not sounding that impressive, it's a whole lot better than what our home record - 7 points from a possible 36. However there's plenty to give Mossley hope for a positive result; Cables haven't won an away fixture in the Unibond for nine games or kept a clean sheet for the last thirteen league fixtures that have taken place outside the L34 post code.

Prediction: After the battling win at Leek last week it's imperative that Mossley put some kind of positive results streak together. That's why I'm confident that Mossley can repeat the outcome of Prescot's last visit to Seel Park four years ago when a late, late goal saw the Lilywhites emerged victorious in an epic FA Vase clash. Though as my nerves are still shot from last week, it would be nice if we could wrap things up a little sooner.