Chadderton 1 - 0 Mossley

Oh dear.

A little over 48 hours after saying 'auf wiedersehen' to the F.A. Trophy , Mossley's brief flirtations with this season's cup competitions continued in an eerily similar fashion at Chadderton's Broadway Stadium.

Just like that match against Rushall Olympic, Mossley were rarely out of their opponents half but once again the inability to convert that domination into scoring opportunities, let alone goals, proved to be their undoing.

What few chances they did create in the opening period were, in the main, shots from distance and almost exclusively via the left boot of Michael Fish. Following a couple of early efforts that were never going to trouble the scoreline, he saw one shot headed off the line by Davis and a 20 yard daisy cutter roll inches past the wrong side of the post.

Yet it was the home side, on a rare outing from occupied territory, that had the best chance to take the lead eight minutes before the break. The Mossley defence stopped when the linesman raised his flag to signal an offside but the referee waved play on, declaring that the offending player was inactive, leaving Mickey Green with a one-on-one with Ashley Connor; a showdown that the Lilywhites keeper won with a smart save.

Seven minutes after half-time Mossley were once again bemoaning the positional sense of Davies when he cleared off the line for the second time in the game and within the space of 60 seconds, he and his team mates were celebrating as the visitors gifted them the goal that would ultimately win them the game.

If you're going to lose to a side that are two divisions below you might as well do it Carry On style and that's what Mossley did. Picking up a long clearance, James Riordan hit a back pass that appeared to catch Ashley Connor by surprise, not least the pace of it, and both could only watch as the ball continued on its trajectory towards the back of the net.

Mossley had the opportunity to make the Oldham side's lead a short one when Paul Garvey was sent crashing to the floor in the penalty area after being swung round like a field hammer by Davies. Responsibility for the kick fell to Martin Allison and he became the latest in an ever growing line of victims of Mossley's penalty curse. Though Allison's shot was firmly hit, it was what commentators like to describe as a nice height for the keeper, allowing Lee Swanson to push the ball away to his right and keep his sides slender lead intact.

By my brief calculations it was the fifth consecutive penalty miss since Chris Ward scored from the spot against Fleetwood last November, though I'm almost certain I've forgotten to include one or two more from the dregs of last season.

There was still over a third of the game remaining though for Mossley to rescue the result and despite spending 95% of it entrenched in their opponents half, it was hardly the Alamo. When the final whistle arrived all they had to show for their concerted efforts at forcing extra-time was a solitary shot from Lee Connor that had been deflected narrowly wide.

I know that we're fortunate to still have a team to follow this season and that we can't afford a big squad of players (hence problems when injuries start to bite), but that doesn't stop getting unceremoniously dumped out of the Manchester Premier Cup by a NWCL Division Two side from being in any way less embarrassing.

Taking the last two fixtures as a whole, we've basically controlled almost 180 minutes of football with nought to show for it but the odd smattering of shots and two defeats. Whilst the defences we've come up against deserve some credit for this being the case, responsibility for coming out of both matches with nothing ultimately rests with Mossley: both in their inability to carve out and finish decent goal scoring opportunities and their knack of conceding goals that could have so easily been avoided.

This is going to sound harsh, and I really don't want to be over critical, but you honestly wouldn't believe that this was the same side that put Skelmersdale to the sword with such flair and imagination ten days ago.

Are there any positives to be taken out of the game? A quick look at many of the faces on the terraces as the match approached its conclusion showed little evidence of any having been found, but I'm up for a challenge:
  • Chadderton may have been shorn of many of their more recent high profile signings due to the competitions ridiculous 14 day registration rule, but at least it wasn't a reserve side as the Flixton team that knocked us out last season had been.
  • We scored. Sort of anyway.
  • The long run of conceding goals from the edge of the six yard box came to an end.
  • If anybody videoed the goal there's a chance that we could make up all the revenue lost from early cup exits by selling it to the producers of those football cock-up DVD's that clutter the shelves at Christmas.
  • Err... the orange kit still looks good.
  • This is getting a bit desperate isn't it?
All we can do is continue to get behind the team and hope that they can bounce back in the next game, another cup match and another visit by Skelmersdale. Who knows, maybe their reappearance at Seel Park will be the catalyst for the return to better things? We can but hope.