Filling In The Blanks

Whilst some people were a touch disappointed that Mossley had been left with a blank weekend due to the FA Cup commitments of Bradford P.A., I can't say that I was one of them.

Why? Well, it meant i) that I didn't have to spend the best part of a Sunday writing two match reports and ii) that I was able to watch two other teams without caring who won and who didn't - a sort of cleanser for the football palette. And if there's ever a fixture that fits the latter reason, it's Curzon Ashton versus Woodley Sports.

So it was to the Tameside Stadium that I hauled myself, hoping upon hope that the game would be better than the last time I saw both sides square off against one another (a dull 0 - 0 encounter at the beginning of September) and, to be fair, it was. It's hard to say otherwise given that the home side ran out 6 - 1 winners; a score line that should have been at least double that had the Blues not wasted a litany of gilt edged chances and not slacked off as much as they did midway through the second half.

Curzon fans will trumpet on about how good their team played but in truth the scoreline probably had more to do with Woodley's sheer ineptness than anything else. As we (there were a few other Mossley fans in attendance as well) watched the Lambeth Grove side provide the paying spectators with a shambolic impersonation of a football team, we couldn't quite believe that was the team that had beaten us so convincingly earlier in the campaign. Twice! You can see for youeselves on Channel M this Friday of you want.

The fun in watching their back four try to play the offside trap was only surpassed by watching the Woodley bench. For most of the second half manager Chris Willcock sat with his head in hands, offering no encouragement all to his charges (even when they did the odd good move) whilst his assistants intently studied the labels on their bottled water. I'm not saying they were sombre but the aristocrats lining up for the guillotine in revolutionary France had more life about them, and they were heading for the chop too.

That's probably a bit unfair as there's absolutely nothing to suggest that a change of management is on the cards at Woodley, despite the incredibly poor run of form they're in. That said though, there was a distinctly Martin Jol look to their demeanour as the goals flew and slowly rolled in.

Whilst this and recent results make things look ominous for our visit in a months time (as advertised on a PowerPoint presentation in their bar area), there are chinks in Curzon Ashton's admittedly impressive armour. There's a lack of communication between defence and their flapping goalkeeper and we're all aware of how to make Rhodri Giggs an ineffective presence on the pitch. Norton's his own worst enemy too when it comes to picking up pointless bookings and whilst he's good at winning high balls, concentrating on picking up his knock downs than challenging him will nullify most of their attacks.

The Tameside Stadium is hardly a cauldron that's likely to affect our players either. Even as the sixth goal went in you could still hear the skittles falling over at the Hollywood Bowl.

That's for the future though and hopefully by then we'll have embarked on a good run of our own, causing Curzon to worry more about us than the other way round. It's just a pity that we're not coming up against Woodley anytime soon.