Back After The Break?

Should the weather allow Mossley to resume their league campaign after a fortnight's enforced absence, it’ll be a case of old rivals, new battleground this weekend as the Lilywhites make their first ever visit to Skelmersdale's Ashley Travel Stadium.

It's hardly the most foreboding sounding of places but it will hopefully offer one advantage over their old White Moss Park premises – that being the lack of a bone chilling wind blowing down pitch, a feature of their old home that never changed no matter what time of the year we played there.

Our last meeting with Skelmersdale away from Seel Park was in November 2003, during the season they lodged at Burscough's Victoria Park ground whilst their new home was built. After going in at the break 2 – 1 down (United's first, you may remember, coming when Phil Melville let a 40 yard daisy cutter in at his near post), Mossley pummelled their opponents in the second half and a goal apiece from Josh Howard and Leon Mike gave the visitors a 3 – 2 win.

The last time we actually played in Skelmersdale we lost 1 – 0. That was the third game of the 02/03 season and a match only notable for the fact that we were so damn awful in it, failing to register a single shot (on or off target) in its entire 90 minutes.

That was then, this is now and Skelmersdale currently look down on us in the league from the lofty heights of 4th spot, which coincidentally is also the position they occupy in the form table having won four and drawn one of their last six games. There's no such similarities for Mossley though as our mid-table position in the league is far higher than the second bottom placing we hold in the form table.

It means that Mossley's task of claiming their first points of 2008 this Saturday isn't going to be an easy one, especially when you also add in the following parameters – Skelmersdale have yet to lose at home this season and they have one of the most prolific strike forces in the league, as well as one of the meanest defences.

That said, Mossley are the sixth highest scorers in the division and over a seventh of the goals Skem have conceded have been at the hands (or rather feet) of Mossley. They came when we took all the points on offer in a memorable 4 – 2 win back in October.

Slightly less memorable (and by less I mean “ in no way at all”) was the President's Cup game between the two sides just over a fortnight later. The tie managed to drag on for an interminable 120 goal less minutes before an extended penalty shoot-out finally saw the supporters put out of their misery and United emerge as winners.

Prediction: With our recent record away to Skelmersdale indicating that this will be a defeat (we alternate between winning and losing and as I mentioned earlier, our last trip ended in a victory), combined with our current form, it would be easy to predict another gloomy afternoon for the Lilywhites.

However, we’re going to start picking up points again sooner rather than later so why not in this game? And I have a sneaky feeling that we'll claim all three. One at the very least which will mean that I don't have to bump the following picture up the blog again...