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.