Maine Road 2 - 4 Mossley

Last time out I promised a smaller match report and here it is.

Thank goodness I decided to keep my word too because If I was to describe every incident that happened in the game it would, if printed, have to be bound into at least three, shelf sagging volumes.

Therefore if you want to know more about the Jimmy the full back who almost had his name worn out, the frankly terrifying Maine Road number eight, some supporters having to watch two hours of football sober, heart in the mouth moments of sanity shredding passages of play, some very good football and enough wood and 69 jokes to last you five lifetimes – you should have gone.

I can give you the next best thing though - highlights (or the bits that weren't obstructed by the linesman's head) of the match, which are at the end of this post. Before that though, the bit you're going to skip in order to get to them.

Mossley's participation in the Manchester Premier Cup will last for at least another ninety minutes after they survived the kind of late twist that cup upsets are built on, to edge themselves past North West Counties League side Maine Road.

With eighty minutes of what had been a pretty entertaining, and sometimes rough, contest gone, the Lilywhites passage into the semi-finals of the Manchester Premier Cup looked be virtually guaranteed. Although two goals up thanks to first half strikes from Nick Boothby and a venomous thirty yard free-kick from Danny Dignan, the margin between the two sides was greater than the score line suggested.

For the third game running Mossley were creating an abundance of chances but struggling to put them away. Unlike against Curzon and Lancaster though where you felt such profligacy would be punished, there appeared to be no danger Maine Road pegging the lead back. It was a view that was reinforced when Maine Road were made to play out the final ten minutes of the match a man short after Brocklehurst was shown a straight red card for throwing a punch at Mossley full-back Alex Mortimer.

However nothing is simple in the world of Mossley AFC.

Bizarrely the dismissal seemed to trouble Mossley more than the team now at a numerical disadvantage. The Lilywhites play suddenly became ragged, composure was replaced by panic and Maine Road quickly began to exploit it. First to capitalise was Rothel with a smart chip over Andy Robertson before Struminski levelled the game with just ninety seconds remaining.

As expected the additional thirty minutes began with the North West Counties League side in the ascendency and the visitors more than a little shell shocked after the events in the closing stages of normal time. Over the course of the opening period of extra-time though the Lilywhites equanimity slowly returned and the extra man finally began to count as the impetus was wrestled away from their opponents.

Putting the ball into the back of the net however was again proving to be a problem and with every chance that flew just wide or into the keepers arms, the threat of a penalty shoot out loomed larger and larger.

Much to the relief of the majority of people stood inside the Brantingham Road ground that particular danger was averted in the 109th minute of the game. Picking up a loose ball on the edge of the box as support in a counter attack, Boothby notched his second of the evening by drilling the ball under keeper Jones. And the two goal cushion they'd held a little over half an hour earlier was restored when Dignan doubled his tally with a powerful shot from an acute angle.

Thankfully this time there was to be no miraculous comeback from Maine Road and confirmation of Mossley's place in the last four was signalled by both the final whistle and an even louder sigh of relief from many of the visitors to South Manchester.

It's impossible to deny that the game was closer than it should have been. There we were skipping merrily to a comfortable 2-0 victory and suddenly hell was unleashed. Particularly on the terraces where it was suffixed to a whole host of words my Catholic upbringing prevents me from repeating.

Some words I can use though to describe Mossley's performance are great, troubling, eccentric, unlucky... to be honest, such was the topsy turvy nature of their display that I doubt there's any adjective in the English language that couldn't be applied.

Still, the result is always the most important thing in a game of football and in the end it's the positive one we wanted. Along with the added bonus of another NWCL banana skin just about avoided.

So here we are at the highlights which include the Diggler Detonator (if you can come up with a better alliterative name for it, please let me know), some lots of very near misses, a red card (not the tackle but the red card) and a penalty claim that wouldn't fool Stevie Wonder if he had his eyes shut.

I hope you enjoy it. It'll have meant that the last three hours of my life weren't wasted:

And over the course of the next 24 hours or so there should be better quality version here.