After wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas last week it's only fair that I wish you all a Happy New Year this week. So...

Happy New Year!

I'd add more but writing something poignant and meaningful for this particular occasion is beyond me at the moment, and I seriously doubt you'd be bothered to read it either given the time of year.

I did have a look around YouTube for something appropriate for celebrating the last day of this calendar year and the first of the next one but it's decidedly slim pickings to choose from. There were the following though.

The first is something you'd kind of expect:

While the second is less so. And despite it being hardly celebratory or fun, it may provoke a second or two of thought as we enter 2009:

Curzon Ashton 0 - 1 Mossley

Much as it was for George Michael, 'Last Christmas' wasn't a particularly good one for Mossley.

The only bright spot in their Boxing Day game at home Lancaster City was that the visitors failed to add to their four unanswered first half goals after the interval.

366 days on though the Lilywhites faithful were saved from tears on St Stephen's Day by a solitary goal which was enough for Mossley to edge out Curzon Ashton in a closely fought (albeit a bit too literally at times) encounter.

It came just after the hour mark when a through ball from Danny Self split the Ashton defence open and played Chris Hirst into a one-on-one with Blues keeper David Carnell. The chance looked to have gone when his heavy first touch took the ball away from the goal and narrowed the angle available to him but his second was sublime, deftly lifting the ball over the onrushing Carnell with the outside of his right boot to send the ball bouncing into the back of the net.

The goal was the culmination of a lengthy spell of Mossley pressure that had begun the moment the second period had started. Graham Kay hit the crossbar with a header from the edge of the box and a good few other efforts flew over it as some wayward finishing stopped them from not only opening the scoring earlier than they did, but widening the gap between themselves and Curzon before the lead they held came under any kind of threat.

Graham Kay pays close attention to Glynn Barker.

On the few occasions the visitors back line was breached and that danger did arrive, they had the goalkeeper Andy Robertson to thank for ensuring the slender lead remained intact. Ten minutes after Hirst's strike Robertson produced an outstanding reaction save to palm away a Michael Norton shot when a goal looked inevitable. This was followed moments later by the Mossley keeper winning his final confrontation of the afternoon with the Blue's leading scorer by diverting a shot onto the roof of the net when a goal once again looked like being the only outcome.

Good fortune isn't something Mossley have had a great deal of this season but they got a rare slice of luck with five minutes of the game left. Losing his marker as a free-kick from the right was looped into the Lilywhites penalty area, Adam Jones looked certain to level the scores as he met the ball on the edge of the six yard box. Inexplicably however he headed high over the crossbar with the goal at his mercy and with it went his sides chances of rescuing the game.

That the second half was as interesting as it was came as something of a surprise after a leaden opening to the match which suggested that the excesses of previous day were still weighing heavily on the stomachs of all involved. Only on four occasions did the first half spring into life - twice for the home side, twice for the visitors and all brought about by mistakes from the defending team.

The first fell Curzon's way in the 23rd minute when a misjudged call from Robertson allowed Norton to nip between him and the defence and steal the ball. The Lilywhites custodian reacted quickly though to rectify his error and dropped on Norton's shot as he attempted to roll it into the empty net. An overhit back pass from Nick Boothby was the genesis of Mossley's next brush with danger and it was only some excellent covering defending that prevented Glynn Barker from tapping the ball in from close range.

At the opposite end of the pitch Mossley, and Danny Dignan in particular, were benefiting from some equally generous gifts from their hosts. A sloppy pass from Chris Worsley presented Dignan with the ball and from fully thirty yards he unleashed a ferocious shot that scraped the outside of the post and had Carnell flying across the face of his goal in a forlorn attempt to reach it. Carnell did get to Dignan's second effort though just before break, diverting it wide after an elementary error from David Birch had let in the Mossley forward.

In the end though it was to be just the one goal that separated the two sides and the noise and applause that greeted the final whistle from the visiting supporters was the least the Mossley players deserved for their efforts over the course of the preceding hour and a half. Efforts which ensured they ended 2008 on a high with their fourth successive victory, their first Boxing Day win for five years and their first in four attempts at Curzon's new ground.

I'd love to write more about this match, and I may do so at a later date, but it's Christmas and I'd much rather be doing something else so if you don't mind I'll leave it here.

What I will say though, besides well done Mossley, really well done, is that I hope the return fixture on New Years Day is officiated by people who don't appear to be voice operated by the Curzon bench and/or aren't unafraid of having to fill out paperwork for red cards off on a public holiday.

Red sky at night - Mossley's delight. Sorry! That caption was appalling...

There's no question that the home side should have finished the match with less than the full compliment of eleven players out on the pitch as, not for the first time, the Blues reaction to having things not go their own seemed to be if you can't beat them – kick them.

Some of the challenges that took place, especially after they'd gone behind, were utterly appalling . Yet they all somehow went unpunished, even one on Hirst that almost took the assistant referee out of the game such was the way the home player threw himself into the challenge on the touchline. You'd have hoped that after he'd almost ended up in a heap on the side of the pitch that he'd draw the referee's attention to what happened but no – it was just another in a long line of matches where it appeared the linesmen were only allowed to signal for throw-ins and nothing else.

To finish with, even though I can't bring you footage of the goal through the Unibond's 'no publicity is better than any' policy, I can show you what happened after the match finished which is the victorious Lilywhites receiving the applause of the crowd and reciprocating with their appreciation of the support they received.

I know they've done it quite a lot this season but with such things being a rarity over past seasons it still fills you with an inner glow when you see it:

Yo, Ho And Ho

As always at this time of year it’s customary to place a seasonal greeting on a website or a blog, and not being one to fly in the face of tradition, here’s mine.

In the words of Slade:

This is rockin’ radio the wall of sound

Oops! Sorry, wrong song.

As I was meaning to say...

A Happy Christmas to all at Seel Park – be it those on the pitch or slightly off it, those behind the scenes or fellow terrace dwellers.

And to you, the few who are still reading this tiny spot on the world wide web as it gamely limps along in the face growing indifference - Merry Christmas!

I had intended to do something slightly more special for my last post before Christmas but a horrendous two days at work (the culmination of months of being metaphorically dumped on from a great height) has wiped away a sizeable proportion of my festive spirit, even though the trials and tribulations suffered this week ended in a small moral victory.

Instead of what I had planned though I’ll leave you with a few things that may help you to pass the time until it’s the moment you have to unwrap a pair of socks and feign being thrilled...

Cliff Richard sang that Christmas is a time for living, believing, trusting, joy and laughter. It's also the small part of the year that keeps the toy industry afloat but how many of the following will Father Christmas deliver tonight? The 25 Most Baffling Toys From Around The World

Speaking of the man in the red suit, he's fallen on hard times lately and isn't quite the jolly old soul the songs make him out to be: Extreme Biography - Santa Claus and Scary Santas.

On the subject of Christmas songs (making it two hospital radio style segue ways on the trot) GoHome Productions has some 'mash-ups' free to download. If you've always wanted to hear Blondie and Jennifer Lopez on Paul McCartney's Pipes of Peace or wondered what a super group made up of Elvis Presley, C3PO and R2D2 would sound like, get clicking now! Really, they are good.

If Christmas songs aren't your thing though, why not try some 'alternative' ones? A word of warning though, they're not for the ears of children or those at the other end of the scale as they contain the odd rude word or fifty.

If you want to escape Christmas for a short while though:

The Quietus - Guess the album covers being mimed and try and beat my pitiful score of four. Yes, four.

The 20 Most Ridiculous Batman Comics Ever Released - The title says it all really.

The Greatest Roller Coaster Souvenir Photos Ever - As does this one.

Well that’s it from me on this blog until it’s time to put tales of the St Stephen’s day game online. I’m of now to watch Have I Got News For You before settling down for my annual viewing National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

It's an exciting life I lead isn't it?

All the best.

Rochdale Town 2 - 3 Mossley

It might only have been a friendly but Mossley managed to get one final Saturday game in before the end of 2008 - their first since the Woodley away game on the 22nd of November.

The hastily arranged nature of the game meant that it was to late for some people to extricate themselves from Christmas shopping duties so it was a small crowd (one count put it at 33) and two small squads that lined up to watch and participate in what turned out to be an entertaining game.

Michael Fish wins the players sweep of who could spot the most away supporters acting casually at the side of the pitch.

I'm not going to go into great detail about what happened because you can see the important bits below but in summary:

Mossley, lining up with new signing Chris Middleton at right back, took a very early lead through Michael Fish and missed a whole host good chances before Danny Self made it two with a diving header. More fluffed opportunities followed before Dave Brookes added a third not long into the second period.

As the game wore on and Mossley continued to narrowly avoid running up a cricket score, Rochdale pulled two goals back and should have had a penalty moments before the final whistle. In the end though the result, not that it really matters being a friendly, was a deserved win for Mossley.

Don't take my word for it though, you can form that opinion for yourself by watching this...

Or if you want to watch a better quality version, click here and then on the higher quality option below the viewing window.

And finally, thank goodness there's nothing like the following sign at Mossley or else matches would resemble those 'behind closed doors' games.

Chorley 1 - 2 Mossley

No, your eyes do not deceive you. Mossley have actually managed to complete ninety minutes of football without the weather intervening in some way.

That said it was a close run thing as the torrential rain prior to kick-off and throughout a large part of the first half had more than a few people worried that the evenings scoreline wouldn't have two numbers in it but two A's instead.

Attempts to watch the game at certain points in the ground were akin to trying to view the boats that criss-cross the Niagara River while stood directly behind the Horseshoe Falls, such were the torrents of water pouring off and through the roofs of the stands.

Following the near month long lay-off caused by three postponements and one highly contentious match abandonment, you wouldn't have been surprised if Mossley had exhibited some rustiness on their return to action.

There was little of it, if any, in evidence though as the Lilywhites continued from where they'd left off at Woodley a mere three and a half weeks earlier with a measured performance that extended their winning streak and eased them comfortably into the next round of the President's Cup.

That said the match did get off to the worst possible start for the visitors. It was barely two minutes old when Roger Sharrock fired a hopeful looking cross into the box from the left wing, and whether its trajectory was altered by the swirling wind or Andy Robertson simply misjudged its flight, there was a moment of stunned silence as the ball unexpectedly dropped under the bar to give the Magpies the lead.

Mossley responded to the early set back with the type of attacking football that has been the cornerstone of their better results this season. However it wasn't until the 37th minute that they finally found an end product to compliment the build-up play. It came through the boot of Danny Self who punished keeper Peter Collinge's fumbled attempts at dealing with Danny Egan's close range header by blasting the loose ball into the net for the equaliser.

Collinge's goal then began to lead a charmed life as further fumbles landed at the feet of his own team mates rather than at those belonging to the orange shirts piling in to the box.

The greatest stroke of fortune they enjoyed though came when Ryan Cook looked to have volleyed Mossley into a first half lead with a thundering shot from the edge of the box that had Collinge wrong footed. Unfortunately for Cook a Chorley defender strolled obliviously into the path the ball was taking and was almost knocked spark out as he unawaringly deflected it wide of the post.

The break for half-time failed to disrupt the momentum the Lilywhites had built up prior to its arrival. Ten minutes into the second period and following a concerted spell of pressure in which Danny's Egan and Dignan had gone close to edging their side in front, Mossley registered the goal that would win them the game. Once again it was a close range effort but this time it was Dignan who applied the finishing touch, stabbing the ball home after Graham Kay's header from a left wing corner had crashed back off the crossbar.

Danny Dignan (hidden) puts the ball (hidden) into the net (the stringy thing with holes in) for Mossley's second, and winning goal.

Substitute Ashley Parillon wasted a golden opportunity to pull the hosts level when he scuffed a shot wide of the upright after being put clean through on goal, but this solitary chance for the home side was dwarfed by the number of openings Mossley were carving out at the opposite end of the pitch. And sadly fluffing.

On another day I might have had a grumble about how the victory should have been wrapped up long before the full-time whistle but to do so after this game however, their first for a while, would be churlish.

The Magpies should have had their on field numbers reduced by one five minutes from time when James Mullineux hacked David Brooke down from behind as the Mossley substitute broke into the box.

The foul in itself was cynical enough to warrant a red card and the fact that a goal scoring opportunity had clearly been denied should have made the flash of crimson even more of a certainty.

A card was produced but it turned out to be just a yellow; an outcome which astonished the fans and a good proportion of the players, particularly when the reasoning he gave was that there had been a covering player, despite the fact that no one else apart from the goalkeeper had been remotely close to the incident. So unless the referee has an imaginary friend who plays at the back for Chorley it safe to say he got this decision very, very wrong.

Finishing the game against eleven men rather than ten made not one jot of difference though as Mossley were happy to spend the ever expanding length of injury time (four scheduled minutes eventually grew to nearly seven) in the left hand corner of Chorley's pitch.

What all fashionable assistant referees are wearing this season: a short sleeved shirt over the top of a coat.

It wasn't the greatest game in the world but neither was it the worst (that honour going to the previous meeting between the two sides this season).

What it was, after their prolonged, weather enforced absence from various pitches scattered across the north of England over the last few weeks, was exactly the result and performance Mossley needed to blow off the cobwebs before they head into the tough Christmas schedule.

Curzon Ashton 4 - 1 Chorley

If you're wondering where the report on the Mossley - Wakefield game is, there isn't one!

For the fourth time in a little over two weeks a match involving Lilywhites has fallen foul of the weather. And such is Mossley's desire to be contrary and stand out from the crowd that while games up and down the country were being called off due to waterlogged surfaces, no game took place at Seel Park because it was frozen solid.

It was a situation that meant another Saturday morning was spent looking around the internet for other local games that were on and armed with the information that there was no danger of the match at the Tameside Stadium being called off, the desperate need for a fix of football meant that for the second successive week it would be Curzon Ashton that filled the void. Proving once and for all that addiction has its down side.

Initially it did look like we might about to witness a shock result as Chorley ran the home near ragged over the course of the opening half hour; a fact studiously ignored in the report in the Non-League Paper. Unfortunately the chances that presented themselves were wasted and former Lilywhite Jordan Goodeve was probably the biggest culprit. Twice he chose the wrong option in who to play the ball to when yellow shirts outnumbered the blue ones in attack before spurning a golden opportunity to edge the Magpies ahead by side footing the ball over the bar from ten yards.

The seeds for their downfall were sown though when more and more of their players began to venture forward in search of the goal they deserved. The ambition is one that in some way should be applauded but the consequence was that they were now short on numbers at the back and it was through exploiting this flaw in Chorley’s game plan that Curzon opened the scoring.

That's not to say it wasn't unavoidable. The low cross from the right wing that set up the goal should have been cleared on at least two occasions as it rolled across the penalty area but the defence’s Can-Can like attempts at doing so allowed the ball to trickle through to an unmarked Barker who promptly stuck it in the net.

It may only have been one goal but with it Chorley simply fell apart. Curzon’s, and Barker’s, second was not long in coming and once again was the result of some really awful defending. Like the first goal it was another low cross from the right that did the damage but on this occasion nearly every single one of the ten visiting players packed into their own box made a hash of clearing their lines before it reached Barker’s feet.

Within minutes of the start of the second half Curzon had doubled the lead. And whereas their opening two goals were the result of a catalogue of errors from the Magpies, the third and fourth were something else altogether - a fantastic strike apiece from Ogoo and Whelan following some quick and incisive build-up play. If you can, try and see them on Channel M's football show next Friday because they are worth watching.

The home side had another goal ruled out for offside but other than that not much else happened until the closing minutes when, with Curzon metaphorically in their slippers and sipping brandy in front of an open fire, Chorley grabbed a consolation goal. It was a very good goal too but way too little, far too late.

You may have noticed that Michael Norton's name hasn't cropped up at all in the report until ten words ago and there's a good reason for that - he was virtually anonymous. Much as he was against Woodley seven days earlier other than for his two goals from the penalty spot.

Now I'm in no doubt that when Mossley turn up on Boxing Day he'll be back to performing his usual shenanigans against us but having seen Curzon's last two games his mind looks elsewhere at the moment. There has been a rumour doing the rounds that he's on his way to Tranmere Rovers in January and quite a few Curzon fans we spoke to certainly seem to be under the impression that it isn't a rumour but something that's done and dusted) so there’s a chance he's a touch pre-occupied with that.

From a purely Mossley perspective, while both sides offer a considerable threat there was enough evidence of weaknesses in the two of them to instil a bit of confidence that we can get something out of the games against them in the upcoming weeks. It’s a confidence that will undoubtedly evaporate in me as the matches draw nearer but for the first time in a while it is actually there.

From a neutral perspective however, I wish I‘d stopped at home and saved my money.

Breaking News: 14/12/2008


The Napoleon Complex

After watching ITV's highlights of the Chesterfield - Droylsden FA Cup tie on Wednesday night, or to be more exact Dave Pace's mad eyed circling of the edges of sanity in his reaction to home sides second goal, I was reminded of something I did a while back.

So as the men in white coats prepare their butterfly nets for the replay in case non-league's very own Begbie finds something else to irk him, what better time to revisit Mossley80's golden age? That halcyon period when it was a bit funny and the number of daily visitors was more than it what it now gets in the space of two weeks:

Non-League Warehouse - Dave Pace Doll

Postings From The Onion Bag

A change of pace for the blog with this posting as it actually contains something funny.

If you cast your mind back to earlier in the week, Sunday to be precise, you may remember that after a small moan about ground hoppers I promised to bring you an extract from a defunct football magazine about them.

And being true to my word (yes, there is a first time for everything)– here they are!Just click on the images to be taken to a bigger, more easily readable version:

The pieces come from a long gone and much lamented football monthly called 'The Onion Bag' (not to be confused with the fanzine of the same name) which while having its fair share of corny jokes, contained some brilliantly funny stuff.

And now that I’ve got a working scanner I’ll be doing my best to bring you some other highlights from the magazine's eighteen issue run over the coming months. Possibly years if I really eke it out.

These include an ingenious and sometimes mad reworking of old You Are The Ref strips and ‘Say Cheesey’, their tribute to old football cards and stickers which contain the kind of photos you would never see in today’s image conscious game.

If the magazine was as good as you say why is it no longer around? Well no one knows for definite but a rumour I read on the internet (therefore it must be true) suggests it fell foul of the sports authorities when they started publishing copies of the reports sent to local FA’s by Sunday league referees.

It's sadly missed, if possibly only by me, but it's better to have had eighteen issues of chortlery than none at all. Something I hope you'll come to agree with me on in the coming months.

In regards to 'Say Cheesy', and as indicator as to what to expect, Broken TV - a blog that deserves to take up a significant chunk of your online reading time - did something similar recently with stickers from the 1980 Panini album and very funny it is too:

The Top 10 Footballers From 1980 Who Are Surely A Lot Older Than They're Claiming To Be

There was a follow-up as well which has a Mossley connection:

The Inevitably Disappointing Sequel To Really Popular Update Awards 1980

Be warned though! He may bring back some unwelcome memories of a really crap time in the Lilywhites not so recent history.

Why We Watch Non-League Football - Part Two

Because the possibility of boarding the football money train means that idiots like the one in the following link from the Chester Chronicle aren't interested in the likes of us any more:

John Batchelor - The man who sadly won't go away

For further evidence as to why this gentleman should never be allowed back into football, here are a few links from his aborted attempt to do the same at Mansfield which includes a Q&A session with supporters and a Guardian investigation into the man from cloud cuckoo land.

And if you've forgotten about part one it's here

"Jack Frost Nipping At Your Toes"

At least he would have been had we been stood watching a game tonight. Instead those ten tiny extremities are nice and warm at home in a thick pair of socks as the plummeting temperature once again thwarts our hopes of seeing a Tuesday night game.

As depressing as the thought of now being in a position to accidentally catch sight of Holby City is, there's some comfort in that at least Chorley had the decency to call the match off six hours before it was due to start and not forty three minutes after it actually had like the referee in last weekends game at Durham. Thereby saving us the time and trouble of travelling in deteriorating conditions to watch a farce.

And speaking of the team from the north east with the all weather pitch, their game at home to Newcastle tonight has also been postponed due to a frozen pitch. The hundreds of thousands of pounds spent on installing their Field Turf playing surface is obviously looking to be money well spent.

I alluded to this in my last but one posting but if teams in Russia can play on a similar surface in temperatures approaching double figures on the minus side of the scale, how cold must it be on the banks of the Wear? Unless they've bought the pitch off the footballing equivalent of Lyle Lanley they really should be looking to get a refund. (I fully understand that next to no-one is going to get the Lyle Lanley reference but as no-one is going to have read this far down - what the hell!)

According to tonight's Oldham Chronicle Mossley are lodging a complaint to the FA about the handling of the situation that evolved in Durham on Saturday. Or to be more precise the lack of it). It's a noble venture and as a supporter I wish them all the luck with their case but the chances of the FA doing anything other than ignoring it are smaller than winning the lottery and being hit by lightning on the same day. While dressed as an otter.

Back to tonight though and no game means a search through the TV listings for something to watch and frankly it's as barren as this evenings non-league fixture schedule.

There is a match on ITV but I'll give it a miss. Not only does Champions League football leave me bored senseless, it will also contain the twelve most feared words in the sport: "And to take you through the game, Clive Tyldsley and David Pleat."

Outside of the Daily Show on More4 though there's nothing that piques my interest so, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to watch that and then carry on working my way through my West Wing DVD's for the umpteenth time.

Woodley Sports 0 - 3 Curzon Ashton

Even before this seasons fixtures were announced way back in the summer, the trip up to Durham (along with the similar one to Newcastle) to see Mossley play was one I was never going to make.

And as much as I hate missing matches in which the Lilywhites are playing, I hate the effects a six hour round trip in a car has on my back more, especially at this time of the year.

It was a situation which meant scouring the fixture lists for another game to fill a blank Saturday with and thanks to the frosty weather, the options were a touch limited.

When in doubt though Woodley's always the best place to head as any game scheduled to take place there is likely to be on; Lambeth Grove's artificial grass pitch continuing to live up to the 'all weather' claim on the packaging it came in. Unlike Durham's supposedly similar surface which appears to have all the properties of the plastic grass you find on greengrocers shelves.

And for more on the ridiculous state of affairs that transpired on Mossley's trip to the north-east, read my previous post or, even better still, Smiffy's

Woodley's opponents were Curzon Ashton and their opponents won 3 – 0. A score line which if truth be told flattered the men from the Tameside Stadium slightly.

Curzon went into an an early two goal lead through two penalties - one for a foul in the box and the other for a tackle that, according to the Mossley fans in line with it at that end of the ground, took place well outside the area. The referee being one of those official who, like the man in the middle we had at Halifax, believes a foul should be given from where the player lands and not where the offence took place - even if it did involve a three to four yard leap.

Both penalties were won by Curzon's left back Whelan and to be honest, if it wasn't for him and his team mate Russell at right back, it's doubtful Curzon would have mustered anything approaching an attack in this match. Maybe they've still got a hangover from their recent FA Cup exploits but apart from the aforementioned players they looked devoid of ideas and urgency. Sadly it's a state of affairs I expect they'll have recovered from come Christmas when they face us twice.

The third goal came in open play and, unsurprisingly, was set up through another long run by Whelan and finished superbly at the back post by Russell.

The second half was, for want of a better word, moribund (and as far from the 'end-to-end' description it mysteriously got in the Non-League Paper report as you're ever likely to get) and made exponentially more miserable by the news filtering in from Durham. The joy and shock that had greeted Mossley's four goal lead giving way to bitter disappointment and fledgling conspiracy theories as word of the abandonment came.

Back in the outer reaches of Stockport, neither side showed much in the way of fight in the second period until late on when Woodley found a higher gear. And if I tell you that the gear they found was first, it may give you some idea to how bad the half was.

If Woodley had a half decent strike force they may have actually gone close to getting something from the game in those final stages. They didn't though and in the end had to settle for a late penalty award of their own which Adam Morning made a right pigs ear of taking. Hence the the 0 next to Woodley's name in the heading to this post.

I had a 'stills' day with my camera for this game and the few that turned out 3.76% decent can be viewed by clicking the following link: Woodley vs Curzon

Other points of interest. Woodley's ex-Mossley contingent continues to keep on growing. Along with Gavin Salmon, Adam Morning and Russell Headley there's now...

Yes, Mark Phillips. Making his return to non-league football after a two year absence.

Perhaps the most surprising thing on the day, besides the news that filtered through from the north-east, was that the crowd for this game was 16 more than the one for the fixture against us a fortnight ago despite there looking to be half as many people in the ground.

Obviously there's no telling how many people had taken up shelter in the bar from the weather and the poor fare on offer on the pitch, but it must have been packed to the rafters in order for 140 people to have been counted in for this game.

What few people there were on the terraces were like us: supporters desperate for a game of football to watch. There were also a good number of 'ground hoppers' too, that strange and small group of people who go to grounds to say they've been rather than watch the football. As one much missed football publication put it in the past, "(they're) train-spotters who've run out of trains."

You get the impression they'd be far happier if the players never came out as not only does it spoil the view of the dugouts, it makes it more difficult to take pictures of the pitch perimeter fixings.

How do I know they were ground hoppers? Well the satchel bag slung across one shoulder, a notebook constantly being scribbled in and two match programmes (one to write in and the other, like Laura Palmer, wrapped in plastic) were a give away. As was there need to fill us in on the minutiae of their recent expeditions across the north west.

If I get chance before Christmas I'll endeavour to put on the blog a couple of things from the publication I mentioned earlier because a) it deserves a new and wider audience and b) it's far funnier than something an infinite number of me's with the same amount of typewriters could come up with.

Hopefully a better match and a full ninety minutes will be adequate compensation for this weekend on Tuesday when Mossley journey to Chorley for the President's cup.

Plastic Pitches - They're The Future! Or Not,

You're winning 4-0 away to the team many people expect to win the league and the game gets abandoned at half-time due to the freezing conditions. Galling, yet somehow typical isn't it?

To make matters worse for the Mossley players, management and supporters making their way back down from the north-east, the match was being played on Field Turf which, according to its manufacturers:

So either Durham got a bad batch of the stuff or, with my tin foil hat on, there's a conspiracy theory in this somewhere...

Das (Fußball) Boot

For those of you who moan about the standard of refereeing in the Unibond League (and there are plenty who do), be thankful we're not in the Colombian semi-pro divisions if this is what happens in their top tier*:

Hard to believe there's rumours of corruption in football over there isn't it?

Then again, if one of the 'Big Four' were to benefit from something similar in the Premier League, Andy Gray would undoubtedly argue that there was some form of contact (even it was only eye) and that the player was well within his rights to go down.

*I've no idea what they're saying or why there's chicken noises so don't ask!

"Oh The Weather Outside Is Frightful"

For the second time this week best laid plans have fallen foul of the weather. The intention to take in a game of football once again thwarted by Mother Nature.

Even if expectations had been confounded and the match we'd scheduled to take in had gone ahead, it would still be Mossley80-less as running the risk of the rapidly deteriorating conditions on the road wasn't particularly appealing. And to be honest, I'd had enough of journeying through the current this weather this morning without repeating it 12 hours later.

A phone call as I was leaving home from someone sat on the last chopper out of Saigon (or the 6:30am bus to Ashton as it was previously known) told me that word had come over the driver's radio that it was to be the only bus in and out of Mossley for the foreseeable future. So off to the railway station it was to take my chances with Northern Rail.

Making my rather slow way to the station I was caught in two minds. One half was muttering grimly about the condition and trying to keep me upright as I slid about the footpaths. The other half though was full of the childish glee of walking through the snow and sliding about.

After tackling Mill Street like it was the north face of K2 (the lack of crampons negated by rubbing my feet in a grit pile at the bottom of the hill) I made it to Manchester Road and boy, was it eerie.

Normally at that time of 6:45-ish the road is quite busy but there wasn't a single piece of traffic on it. Not that it was unsurprising as cars couldn't make it up the roads onto it, and judging by the ashen faced expression on the driver of the one car who came down Stamford Road, it was treacherous coming down onto it as well.

The only good thing about the morning, apart from my momentary regression back to a single digit age group, was that the train was only four minutes late and I got a seat. It's little comfort though when you've got a thirty minute walk through black slush to get to work once you disembark.

Why am I telling you all this? Frankly I've no idea but it's a good way of getting a bad day off my chest, especially as some of my fellow employees who live in the area wangled the day off claiming they were snowed in.

Before I finish though I'd like to applaud the consideration shown to pedestrians by the drivers trying to make their way up Wagon Road this morning. Unable to get any grip on the snow they continually slid backwards and to avoid hitting the car behind, they graciously swerved onto the footpaths where people were having enough standing upright as it was without having to take evasive manoeuvres to avoid a couple of tons of metal hurtling towards them.

Fair play to them. I mean, what's a couple of years in prison for vehicular manslaughter and ruining the lives of countless families when the alternative is losing your no claims bonus.

Oops! I got mixed up there. I didn't mean to praise you, I meant to call you the self-centred tossers you undoubtedly are. Glad I got that straight.

So onto tomorrow then and the joys black ice will bring in the land of hills.

Glossop North End 2 - 2 Maine Road

I suggested it may happen in my previous posting and happen it did: Mossley's match with Woodley Sports fell foul of the weather.

And while the official reason for the postponement was frost, the very thick layer of fog that enveloped the ground (and most of northern England for the day) would have undoubtedly had an effect on the decision. Therefore I can’t say I was too upset at the postponement of a potentially farcical match in which a significant portion of the action would have been invisible to the naked eye.

The late call-off though (fifty minutes before kick-off) meant that there was a sudden rush to find another local game to watch. At least there was from those of us who'll watch anything at any level to keep us out of the house on a Saturday afternoon. Of the two fixtures within reach before 3:00pm, only Glossop's game with Maine Road hadn't fallen foul of the weather and so it was to the Peak District that a small band of Mossley supporters headed, along with fans from other clubs with postponed games including two women who’d travelled from Bristol to watch Stalybridge against Farsley.

The journey to the Surrey Street ground saw plenty of wondering as to how on earth Glossop's match could still be on as visibility due to the fog was near treacherous. The musing stopped however when we got to the edge of Glossop and were met by bright sunshine and blue skies. It wasn’t to last though and six minutes after arriving the fog started to roll in. By the time kick-off arrived the opposite touchline was barely visible through the gloom and for the most part vision wise, things went steadily downhill from there.

”On a hill in Glossop, mist rolling in from the west...”

Occasionally the drift of the fog would clear things a little, but it was only ever a momentary respite and what was happening on the far side of the pitch would quickly be swallowed by the mist again; leaving you guessing as to what was going on through the shouts emanating from the opposite touchline.

All in all a bit of a shame really as it was a good game. The bits we saw of it.

Maine Road in a sickly yellow and pale blue kit ran the first half and deservedly took a two goal lead into the interval with them. Their first goal was pretty straight forward but the second was either a classic piece of opportunism and skill or solely attributable to the absurd conditions – Rothel launching the ball high into the gloom and dropping it over the back pedalling North End keeper.

Which of the two options you plump for probably depends on which team you support. My own opinion, not that it’s worth a jot, is that it was a goal that wouldn’t have been scored had the weather been better and the ball not blended into the background during its long flight.

Mossley80 goes moody.

Bizzarely Maine Road decided to try and sit on their advantage in the second period and it was a tactical decision that failed spectacularly. Glossop tore them to shreds and not only did they level the game, they should have won it. In fact it’s possible they could have done and we just didn’t see the winner.

But why talk about it when you can see (a word I use in its least possible sense) what happened for yourself. Who needs spot the ball when you can have spot the player on the ball and spot the match too!

The search for a game to fill the upcoming blank midweek could see Mossley80 make a departure from the world of non-league football for the first time. The intended destination will remain veiled for the time being (not that it’s anything remotely special) as it’s all dependent on the frost not taking a hold.

If it does, and with the only alternative being the Woodley – FC U of NM League Cup game, I wouldn’t expect a match report on anything on Wednesday.