Mossley 1 - 1 Harrogate R.A.

For the second Saturday in succession Seel Park played host to a game that won't live long in the memory of those who'd paid to watch it.

The 'it' in question being duller than the point on foam rubber sword.

Admittedly 'it' was marginally better than the Clitheroe game but at the same time it's margin that's only visible with the assistance of an electron microscope.

Apart from one moment when Michael Fish shot directly at the keeper after racing clear of Harrogate's back line, the opening stage of this encounter was decidedly flat. Just as Clitheroe had done in the game a week earlier, Railway were enjoying the lions share of possession but like the previous visitors to the Pennine mud flats, the lack of a cutting edge upfront meant that the Lilywhites were rarely, if ever, troubled.

The match belatedly sprung to life though just after the half hour mark when Mossley suddenly remembered the style of football that's won them more games than they've lost this year and its arrival had an immediate impact.

Despite looking favourite to reach Mattie Kay's intelligent through ball, a moment of hesitation from centre half Craig Laight gave Fish the opportunity to take possession and advance down the left wing. Upon reaching the corner of the Harrogate box, he squared the ball to Lee Blackshaw who in turn stroked it effortlessly past Jordan Yorath for his seventh goal of the season.

The remainder of the half consisted of Mossley trying to increase their advantage but though going close on more than one occasion, they couldn't fashion another goal that would have put further daylight between themselves and Harrogate on the score sheet.

And not for the first time this season they were left to rue not killing the game off during the spell where they were comfortably on top.

There was an early scare for the Lilywhites within minutes of the restart when Railway captain Ben Jones spurned his sides first opportunity of the game, somehow steering the ball wide of the goal he was stood yards in front of unmarked.

It was a warning the home side failed to heed as a virtually identical move, twenty seven very uneventful minutes later, saw Jones rectify his previous mistake by tapping home Ryan Haigh's cross from close range while Mossley stood appealing for an offside decision that was never going to be given.

The goal finally reintroduced some urgency into Mossley's game and though they were able to work a series of good openings, more often than not a poor final ball brought those promising moves to a disappointing conclusion.

There's no denying that the result was a deflating one but it's hard to be critical. I mean, how can you be?

The team might not have reached the performance heights we know the're capable of but this is more than compensated for by the fact we're currently on a four game unbeaten run.

Of course the pitch doesn't help Mossley's cause but it's not the reason for our, at times, laboured performances at home over the past week. It's a sizeable contributory factor but it's also worth pointing out that we produced a similar up and down display on a much better surface at Warrington in midweek.

At the moment we're only playing in fits and starts but once we start eking out those spells of ten to fifteen minutes where we're on top into longer stretches, and with a few tweaks here and there (such as hopefully getting Clive to pass the ball to his team mates a bit more), more positive and convincing results will undoubtedly come.

But like I said we can't complain having taken seven points from a possible nine and reached the semi-final of a cup competition over the course of the last eleven days.

So that's February over with, bring on the sides of March.