FC Halifax Town 2 - 0 Mossley

If the following report appears rambling, repetitious and, frankly, rubbish, (even more so than usual) it's probably because it is.

The reason why is as I write, or rather type, it's a couple of minutes off three in the morning and I've been awake for twenty five and a bit hours straight. I should still be some way off the hallucinations that come with a prolonged lack of sleep but just in case, don't be too concerned if I suddenly start ranting about gorillas in spacesuits wanting to kill us all or type out a transcript of a conversation I'm having with the magical bear that's sitting next to me (he has a yellow hat).

I probably should have waited till I'd had at least a couple of minutes sleep before starting this recollection of events at The Shay but I might as well do it while it's fresh in the memory. Besides, it gives me something to do while I watch the coverage of the US elections.

After their five goal collapse at home to Newcastle at the weekend, the last team Mossley would have wanted to face in their next fixture was one currently on a long unbeaten streak, but in FC Halifax Town that's exactly what they came up against on Tuesday.

And though the scoreline shows that the Lilywhites failed to halt The Shaymen's run of positive results, what it doesn't tell is that it took a scrambled goal in injury time to finally kill off the Lilywhites hopes of rescuing a deserved point from a close game. Not that the early stages of the match gave any indication that that would be the case.

As expected for a side currently racking up the points , Halifax began the match in a mood that suggested they wanted to kill off the game as a contest as soon as possible. It's a wish they might have got as well had it not been for some strong defending from the visitors.

On the few occasions that the Lilywhites back line was breached, keeper Ashley Connor was proving to be an even tougher barrier for them to get past; none more so than when he produced a fingertip save to push a tenth minute shot from Junior Brown around the post.

For all the pressure they were exerting though, the home side weren't having things all their own way. The best chance of the half, in open play at least, fell Mossley's way and came when a series of one touch passes put Matty Berkeley clean through on goal but the forward snatched at his shot and hooked it wide of the goal with only the keeper to beat.

Matty Berkeley ponders what might have been...

The longer the half wore on the more it looked like the sides would be going in at the break level but that all changed when Halifax were awarded, what was from a Mossley perspective at least, a contentious penalty.

Not only did left-back Nick Challinor appear to have won the ball cleanly in a challenge with Cavell Coo, the incident also seemed to have taken place outside the Mossley box. After the lengthy protests had been waved away John Smith stepped up to the spot and stroked the ball past Connor to put his side ahead.

The goal gave the home side a visible boost and the Lilywhites survived more than a few close calls before the arrival of the interval, and in the five minutes immediately after it as well.

Following that initial flurry of action at the start of the second period the game slowly began to turn Mossley's way; the introduction at half-time of substitutes Ryan Cook and Daryl Weston adding some steel to the Lilywhites midfield and, as a consequence, wrestled a greater share of the possession away from their opponents. And with this increase came a growth in the number of chances that began to fall the Lilywhites way.

Weston had a shot bundled off the line, Michael Fish and Christian Hirst forced keeper Jon Kennedy into making two good reaction saves and numerous other players had efforts that flashed narrowly wide of the goal frame but try as they might - Mossley just couldn't divert the ball into the net.

The moment when they probably realised that it wasn't to be their night came with five minutes left. A powerful run down the right from Hirst ended with the winger finding Cook on the edge of the Halifax box and while his first time shot shot left Kennedy rooted to the spot, it couldn't beat the right hand upright.

Then came the killer blow to the Lancashire sides rapidly fading hopes of claiming what would have been a warranted point. A cheaply conceded free-kick was fired into the Mossley penalty area and after a series of ricochets Brown poked the ball over the line to seal the win.

It's fair to say that I approached this match with a fair amount of trepidation, particularly with the Blue Star match still a gaping and bloodied wound. If we were to repeat the performance from that game then we'd almost certainly be on the receiving end of a pummelling and the prospect of paying £10 to witness such a thing was frightening.

In the end I needn't have been worried. Yes – we lost. But after the way Halifax have strengthened since we beat them in September and the manner in which we've been weakened through departures and injuries, until that last minute goal all that separated the two sides was an extremely dubious penalty.

Naturally some Halifax fans will protest that it was the right decision but in his post match interview even Jim Vince, Town's manager, said that it wasn't a penalty and the fact that the referee started to give Mossley a few debatable decisions in its immediate aftermath (although none quite as generous as that penalty award) suggests that he'd realised he'd made an enormous cock-up.

In the end though if Mossley had taken just a small percentage of the chances they created, and likewise Halifax in the first half, the spot kick would just be a small footnote in the match. Unfortunately some good goalkeeping, allied with in parts some poor finishing and final balls, ensured that we drew a blank for the second game running.

If you were to glance at the Halifax websites you'd be under the impression that Mossley's improvement in the second half came as a result of The Shaymen choosing to sit deep. This does the Lilywhites an enormous disservice though as it lessens the obvious impact the introduction of Messrs Cook and Weston had at half-time.

To use a cliché, by simply getting “stuck in” they completely disrupted Halifax's game plan which up to that point had been serviced by their midfield's ability to move the ball around the centre of the pitch relatively unchecked. By denying them space Town had no option but to move the ball back towards their own goal before it was hurriedly unleashed up the pitch to no-one in particular as the defence was closed down.

Halifax stewards make one of their twice-a-minute patrols of the more rebellious element of the Mossley support

At the moment on TV John McCain is delivering his concession speech and in closing this report, I've got to echo in some way what he's saying about his election campaign and America, but transpose it three and a half thousand miles or so eastwards to football and yesterday evenings events in West Yorkshire – the battle might have been lost but there's no need for despondency as the future looks good.

Now to try and get some much needed sleep and it may be just that little bit easier now that I know someone who recently voluntarily had witches cast from her isn't a heartbeat away from the nuclear trigger.

Leopold: Don't forget to save it before you switch your computer off.

Me: Oh yes, thanks! I almost forgot. By the way, your hat has fallen off...