Curzon Ashton 4 - 1 Mossley

A spirited second half performance wasn't enough to stop Mossley slipping to their third successive defeat, this time at a wind and rain swept Tameside Stadium.

The match got off to the worst possible start for the Lilywhites when with, fifty seconds on the clock, Michael Norton put his name on the score sheet for the first time in the game; Curzon's prolific forward reacting the quickest to Ashley Connor's smart save to steer the loose ball low into the net.

Ashton continued to press forward but other than a few shots from distance that failed to trouble Connor, they were failing to make their dominance count. That was until the 27th minute when a short corner caught Mossley napping and left back Mortimer was given the time and space to pick out Norton, who in turn grabbed both his and his sides second goal of the game.

Mossley's best, and only, chance of the opening period came three minutes later. Paul Quinn's deep free-kick was met firmly by the head of Martin Allison only for the ball to whistle narrowly wide of the upright.

It looked increasingly as though it would be a 2-0 lead that Curzon would be taking in at the interval as the half fizzled out into a series of niggly challenges that constantly interrupted the flow of the game. Norton however had other ideas and the Mossley's inability to handle him proved costly again when, five minutes before the break, he stole through a static defence to connect with another cross to claim his hat-trick and send James Brown blaring out of the speaker system again.

The visitors emerged from the changing rooms looking a different side as they finally took the game to Curzon. Within a minute of the restart Jamie Miller looped one shot over the cross bar and with Mossley playing further up the pitch, Curzon were for the first time in the match being made to sweat a bit.

The pressure slowly began to increase and a minute before the hour mark, Mossley finally made the breakthrough. Despite being pulled to the floor by the Ashton player tracking his run into the box, the referee played the advantage as Quinn dug the ball out to find Danny Toronczak. Having lost his marker the former Belper forward composed himself before firing the ball low past Carnell to give Mossley a glimmer of hope.

In the following minutes both Miller and Toronczak had half chances that could have reduced the deficit even further but slowly, Curzon began to regain a foothold in a game and Mossley's resurgence should have been killed off in the 65th minute but the on loan Redshaw shot well wide of an open goal.

With quarter of an hour to go Allison's vicious shot was blocked on the line and from the resultant break up the pitch James Agoo headed a great opportunity just wide. Any hopes of a famous Mossley comeback were finally extinguished eleven minutes from time when Chris Curley capitalised on a miss-hit clearance in the Lilywhites back line to slip the ball under Ashley Connor.

Allison's hat-trick of near misses was completed in the 87th minute when his swerving shot from outside the box crashed off the crossbar but Mossley have Ashley Connor to thank for the score remaining at four goals to one with two superb stops in the dying moments to deny both Douglas Pringle and Josh Mitten on breaks.

With the game effectively over as a contest by the halfway point Mossley deserve plenty of credit for making a fist of it in the second period. After a first half where the home side went three up without appearing to get out of first gear, simply by setting their stall out further up the pitch, and thereby reducing the gap between the forwards and the rest of the team, they denied Curzon the room to move the ball around leading to a much closer contest.

All in all another afternoon of could have beens but the approach and performance in the second half will hopefully give Mossley pointers and confidence for their return visit to Ashton Moss in three weeks time.

A final word for the stadium though: a superb pitch and nice facilities but what's the point in having covered terracing that doesn't provide any cover? As design flaws go it's right up their with crash helmets made of bubble wrap.