Salford City 0 - 4 Mossley

No matter how much despondency and despair we've had over the years at Seel Park occasionally, and I do mean occasionally, you do get the very brief thought that God (should he/she exist) might just be just a teensy-weensy bit of a Lilywhites fan.

Take this game for instance. While the rest of the country was battening down the hatches and declaring shock at the arrival of such un-British weather like, er..., heavy rain, Mossley fans were basking not only under the warm sunshine in Salford but the glow of watching the side they support expertly dismantle one of their league opponents.

Mossley's last visit to Moor Lane ended with them leaving with three points and four goal margin of victory. Five years later, sameo sameo.

In a strange way the final result is one that both sides will be happy with but for completely different reasons. Mossley because its three points and four goals that takes them joint top of the Unibond First Division North and Salford because it was only four goals.

The game however may have had an altogether different complexion had Mark Dwyer's sixteenth minute shot (City's one real effort of note) bounced over the goal line and not along it after cannoning off the post. It was a moment of good fortune for Mossley but nothing compared to some of the luck Salford were enjoying at the opposite end of the Moor Lane pitch.

Not only had the visitors had a seventh minute Danny Dignan effort narrowly ruled out for offside, Salford also survived two extremely good claims for a penalty. The first coming after Dignan was floored by a challenge from behind by Tudor as he broke into the box and a second when a Lee Blackshaw free-kick was diverted over the cross bar by a raised arm in the Salford defensive wall. Add to that City defender Bellamy escaping without even a talking to, let alone a card being shown, after pulling Michael Fish back as he pulled clear of the back line it gives you some idea of the charmed life the home side were leading.

That said the City defence were, in the main, doing some sterling work in trying to repel the flood of white shirts charging towards their goal, particularly as they were receiving little in the way of assistance from what could charitably be described as 'the Salford midfield'. But with Mossley showing a significantly greater degree of invention and pace as the game wore on it looked more and more like a cause that the home side were going to lose sooner rather than later.

And so it proved in the thirtieth minute when the Lilywhites finally took the lead. A free-kick awarded 25 yards out for a block on Ryan Cook was converted by Michael Fish. The Mossley number nine stroking the ball almost effortlessly past both the Salford wall and a goalkeeper who remained rooted to the spot.

The second goal followed a host of missed opportunities by the visitors and like the first was scored from distance. This time though it came through some good football in open play by debut maker Cook and finished by the right boot of Danny Dignan.

A lengthy half-time interval failed to knock Mossley out of their stride and within seconds of the restart City's defence was once more under siege. Chances were again coming thick and fast but it wasn't until just before the hour point in the game that Mossley finally killed off any lingering doubt, if indeed there was any at this stage, as to where the three points would be heading.

For the second time in the match it was Fish who found the back of the net, directing Nick Boshell's perfectly weighted ball from the right wing past Salford keeper Martin Campbell from close range. Eight minutes later Mossley's leading scorer completed a deserved hat-trick by placing another right wing cross beyond the reach of Campbell; Dignan supplying the assist this time around.

The remainder of the match saw Mossley pour forward in ever growing numbers past an increasingly bedraggled Salford defence and create enough chances that, if converted, would have taken their tally closer to double figures . A mix of good goalkeeping, a lack of composure, over elaboration and the assistant referees flag though ensured that the scoreline, if only from a Salford perspective, remained reasonably respectable.

After a couple of seasons where Mossley have been the wrong side in one sided games, it's nice to make another team and their supporters suffer.

I say one sided but according to the report in the Non-League Paper I, and most other people in the ground, were watching a different game. The official Salford perspective seems to be that the first half was apparently a very even affair with Mossley only taking the lead through a dubious free-kick. I appreciate that they're hardly likely to come out and say “we rode our luck a bit” but it's one thing to bend the truth, another to contort it into a series of knots.

If there's one criticism about Mossley's performance, it's that the winning margin should have been lot more than more than four. We could have easily handed Salford's backsides to them on a large plate with a side salad but we didn't. However, moaning about not doing so would be like being given a million pounds in cash and then complaining that you were being charged ten pounds for the bag it came in – both churlish and missing the bigger picture.

Over the course of the season Mossley will face far more sterner opponents than Salford but as the adage goes, you can only beat what is put in front of you and the Lilywhites did it convincingly and with some style. From back, to middle, to front this was a consummate performance from the men in white and hopefully not the last we'll see from them before the season finishes. Overall it wasn't a bad way to prepare for the series of tougher games coming up over the next month or so.

Finally, perhaps believing God to be a Mossley supporter is just a bit too over the top. For one thing, if it did turn out to be true it would likely be an end to all Judeo-Christian belief systems as it would prove that the supreme being isn't as infallible as they'd like to make out.

Besides, the ultimate argument for him/her not being one can be summed up in two words: Terry and Curran. Thereby not only proving that (s)he is not a Mossley supporter but that (s)he isn't even particularly merciful either.

So here we are at the bit you've skipped the match report to see: the highlights. It's a lengthy series of clips this week so whack the sound right up (and I do mean right up), sit back, relax and immerse yourself in the audio/visual experience that is a slightly low resolution recap of Mossley's game at Moor Lane:

I would suggest though following this link and clicking on the 'view in higher quality option' (which will hopefully be on very soon)below the video window for a much less blurry time.