Skelmersdale United 5 - 0 Mossley

The great thing about football is that it never ceases to amaze. Take the the weekends FA Cup match at Anfield for example, who'd have thought that fitness would be deciding factor between a team of part-timers and a side with aspirations of winning the European Cup?

And closer to home, never would I have thought that after watching Mossley concede seven goals in two games that I'd be happy as I am because it could, and should, have been much, much, much worse.

Yes, the disastrous run of form Mossley have experienced since the turn of the year continued unabated at the home of promotion chasing Skelmersdale United. And like the 2-1 defeat they suffered in their previous match at Harrogate, the score line, even at 5 – 0, makes the game seem closer than it actually was.

It's fair to say that things started badly for Mossley and went downhill from there. There was only three minutes gone when Georgie Donnelly put the home side ahead with the easiest goal he's likely to score all season; heading a right wing cross past Ashley Connor whilst completely unmarked in the six yard box.

This was then followed by Anthony Murt bouncing a free-kick off the Lilywhites crossbar and Ashley Connor saving at the feet of Donnelly (after the latter had been put clean through on goal) as United threatened to put the game beyond Mossley's reach with less than a quarter of it gone.

Mossley slowly began to enjoy a greater share of possession but not for the first time this season the failure to convert it into even half chances, let alone goals, was to prove costly. And whilst they toiled around the Skelmersdale box, they were always susceptible to the counter attack and every time United broke forward it looked as though more goals would be forthcoming.

Despite numerous close calls Mossley managed to reach the interval only a goal in arrears and with fifteen minutes to regroup, there was a certain amount of hope amongst the travelling support that having weathered something of a storm, things could turn in Mossley's favour in the second period. Especially with the strong wind that was blowing down the pitch now at their backs.

The visitors emerged from the changing rooms to the sound of 'Living on a Prayer' being played over the public address system and how apt it proved to be as that half-time optimism evaporated three minutes into the restart.

A badly misjudged back pass by Darren Royle put Ashley Connor into a desperate race for the ball with Murt. It was a contest Connor won by the narrowest of margins but his clearance could only find the feet of Adam Birchall and with more time than he should have had, he lofted the ball over the stranded keeper and into the net.

Skelmersdale's pace then became the main factor in the game as they began to tear through Mossley's back line with considerable ease, and with only Leon Henry able to keep pace with them it was no surprise that the Lilywhites began to find themselves all too often outnumbered in defence. As was the case four minutes later when Donnelly ran half the length of the field to score his second and his sides third of the match.

Donnelly then proceeded to fluff his chance of a hat-trick by spooning the ball over the bar with only Connor to beat and Henry managed to break up a 3-on-1 attack as it looked increasingly like the proverbial floodgates were about to open. Thankfully though they didn't, due in no small part to some poor finishing and over elaboration on Skelmersdale's part, but a bit of water did slosh over the top of them.

With just under quarter of an hour left substitute Paul Crompton stroked home United's fourth goal of the game and in the 90th minute the fifth and final goal arrived, Paul Prescott heading a long queue of players waiting to apply the finishing touch to Crompton's cross.

If you've read the above report and are wondering why it makes no mention of Mossley's attempts on goal, that's because there weren't any! Rather disturbingly from a Lilywhites viewpoint, the only thing to fluster Skelmersdale keeper Ryan McMahon all afternoon was a misdirected header from one of his own defenders that had him scrambling across the floor in order to turn the ball behind for a corner.

Other than that all he had to do, apart from collecting the odd corner, was tip over a long Mossley through ball that the wind had got hold of and collect the Lilywhites solitary attempt of the match on target as it bounced in front of him. In the 84th minute. From the halfway line.

If watching Mossley implode on the pitch wasn't bad enough, the supporters also had to put up with some ludicrously O.T.T. shenanigans (whilst the match was going on) being broadcast over the PA system where it appeared that some kind of audition for a job on local radio was taking place.

Still it was good to see that some things don't change and the self-righteousness exhibited by some Skelmersdale supporters ion back in our NWCL continues undiminished. You've got to admire the unashamed hypocrisy of supporters who vent their spleen at the officials and then decry opposing fans for doing similar as an affront whilst trying to take the moral high ground.

In fact it's worth checking out the Skelmersdale forum to see an unbelievable rant by one of those Skem supporters about some Mossley fans lack of geographical knowledge, before (with no hint of irony) labelling Clitheroe a Manchester club.

None of it should detract though from the fact that Mossley were well beaten. It would be easy to point out the problems we currently have but that doesn't do anyone any good, apart from, perhaps, upcoming opponents.

The best Mossley performance on the day was Leon Henry's by a country mile. If hadn't been for the makeshift left back and Ashley Connor it's almost a certainty that this report would have consisted solely of bullet points detailing just the name of the scorer and the time the goal occurred, purely to cut down on length. As for the other pluses, well... the weather unseasonably nice and, as I've intimated earlier, it was only 5 – 0!

It all adds up to Mossley's next game at home to a steadily improving Radcliffe Borough side carrying more significance than it would have otherwise have done as the hopes of a play-off spot we had, a little over a month ago, disappear over the horizon ahead of us whilst the prospect of a relegation battle inches ever closer behind us.

Then again it wouldn't be Mossley if everything was straightforward, would it?