Frosty, There's No Game

Once again this season the weather took its toll on Mossley's league campaign as a frosty evening in Chorley put paid to any chance of the Lilywhites pre-Christmas fixture taking place.

In fact the cold snaps last hurrah had the same effect on many other games due to place, which curtailed the options available to those of us who wanted to see a game - any game. Desperately!

The only option that presented itself was a hastily arranged friendly between Woodley Sports and FCUB on the former's artificial surface, after the league meeting between the two sides at Gigg Lane had also fallen foul of the sub-zero temperatures.

So after paying the princely sum of £2, around 50 FCUB fans, four Mossley supporters and the Woodley spectators (?) prepared themselves for one of the few semi-pro games taking place in Greater Manchester...

Truth be told the game, despite the 2 - 2 scoreline, was decidedly dull (well it was that score when we left but apparently Woodley got a late winner). FCUB dominated proceedings for long stretches but lacked the nous to get past Woodley's defence, whereas the visitors defence couldn't cope with the speed and directness of the home side's attack.

Woodley had already wasted one golden opportunity before they finally went in front midway through the first half and that's how it stayed until early in the second half when a cross was inadvertently turned into his own net by a Woodley defender.

The scoreline remained level for, oh, seconds as the home side promptly went up to the other pitch and regained their lead. And that's how it stayed until the closing stages of the game when an unseemly scramble in the Woodley box ended with a boot, belonging to someone in a red shirt, diverting the ball into the net.

Whilst the game may be have been nothing to really write home about, at least the conversation was good. I've made no secret of my feelings about the FCUB circus in the past but the supporters we found ourselves talking to, during a first half spent sheltering under Woodley's only covered bit of terracing, were a perfectly level headed bunch.

Unlike some FCUB fans who seem to think that they're some sort of martyrs and that what happens on the pitch is irrelevant (my main complaint), the ones we met had a genuine interest in non-league football. Which given that it was a meaningless friendly played in the pouring rain, three days before Christmas, should have been obvious.

Stories were swapped, not least last Saturday's incident at Curzon as it turns out that Rhodri Giggs shares the same place in their hearts as he does in ours, and it was heartening to hear that some of our prejudices about non-league football are shared by others.

Despite the football, it wasn't too bad a day but all said and done, it's no substitute for watching the team you support.