Mossley 0 - 2 Wakefield

So its not just Julius Caesar for whom the Ides of March turn out to be a seriously lousy day.

The fifteenth day of the third month has always been seen to be portentous and if old superstitions are true, the omens Mossley will take from this game aren't particularly good ones.

With eight games of the season left, and all but one against teams currently above them in the table, Mossley are going to have rediscover the form they showed against Chorley quickly or else more performances like this one will see them enter the race for the wooden spoon, or possibly worse if the league do decide to press ahead with relegation this summer.

There was a distinct case of 'after the lord mayor's show' about proceedings at Seel Park on Saturday as Mossley followed up their battling display against the Magpies, and one which saw them register their first victory of 2008, with the kind of showing that had seen them go the ten games prior to it without a win.

Much as they'd done in the meeting between the two sides a fortnight earlier at their Eastmoor Road ground, Wakefield claimed a victory against the Lilywhites with two second half goals. And unlike then when Mossley were somewhat unfortunate not to leave with at least one of the points on offer, this time round the Yorkshire side deserved their spoils, even if the goals that won it did have a stroke of fortune about them.

The first half was a monumentally dull affair - the epitome of a dour, midfield battle and but for two superb saves by Mossley keeper Ashley Connor, it wouldn't be worth mentioning at all. His first stopped Chris Hitchings from putting Wakefield ahead quarter of an hour into the game and his second, twenty minutes later, left Graham Marchant slack jawed in wonderment at how he'd managed to divert his attempt, that looked destined to drop into the net, over the bar.

The home sides efforts at drawing similar heroics out of Connor's opposite number, Andy Woods, amounted to nothing more than two half-chances from Michael Fish that were shepherded off for goal kicks and a header that bobbled into his arms following a corner.

A hooked shot from Michael Fish drops over the crossbar under the watchful eye of Woods; the closest Mossley came to scoring in the entire 90 minutes.

Compared to the second half though Woods was being positively overworked as the forty five minutes that followed the interval saw Mossley register one single shot on target; the closest they got being a diving header from Fish that was blocked before it went anywhere near the six yard box.

Unfortunately the visitors weren't having any such trouble at the other end of the pitch. With Mossley remaining firmly stuck in neutral, the extra gear Wakefield appeared to have found during the break saw them begin to ask more and more questions of their opponents. Despite their best attempts to break the deadlock though, it was to be two defensive errors that they'd capitalise on to win the game.

In the 54th minute Delroy Ferguson took advantage of Lee Connor's hesitancy in heading off a loose pass to break clear of the home defence and slot the ball under the Mossley captain's namesake to put Wakefield ahead.

Both his and his sides second goal came courtesy of a similar error half an hour later, only this time it was Paul Quinn who failed to make the crucial and relatively straight forward interception, once again allowing Ferguson all the time he needed to compose himself and pick his spot past Connor with the ball.

On one of the occasions Ashley Connor is actually beaten, the crossbar comes to the rescue.

The only positive for Mossley on the day was that the final scoreline wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. And the fact that they weren't on the receiving end of a much heavier defeat is down to a combination of a string of saves produced by Ashley Connor that bettered the ones he made in the opening half, some errant finishing by the visitors and, on one notable occasion, the woodwork.

Overall this was a hugely disappointing showing from Mossley - from the sublime to the ridiculous in the space of a week. Other than a few notable exceptions, it's hard to believe that it was the same eleven that did so well in the last home match.

As Roy Walker used to repeat mantra-like on Catchphrase, "Say what you see," and what I saw was pretty crap. And in private, away from the terraces and the internet, I think that's what many of you will believe as well.

If you're able to make the result more palatable by believing that the only difference between the two sides were the two mistakes, then fair play to you. From a personal point of view I think being happy that we might have scraped a 0 - 0 draw at home to a mid-table side had it not been for two errors (the likes of which haven't exactly been rare occurrences this season), a spectacular display by our goalkeeper and some lax finishing from our opponents, is a desperately small straw to clutch at.

I've no doubt that some of you reading this will be tutting to yourself in the belief that I'm being overly harsh but is it really too much to ask that the opposing keeper at least gets his kit a bit dirty? That we not put in an end of season performance with eight games left and safety still not an absolute certainty?

With two tough games coming up over the Easter weekend that winning mentality is going to have to return pretty sharpish. Will the real Mossley please stand up?