Radcliffe Borough 1 - 0 Mossley

First we’ll start with the good news.

The win/lose sequence of results has finally come to an end.

The bad news is that in a typical ‘trust Mossley’ fashion they brought that run to a conclusion not with two victories, or even a draw, but two defeats. And while there may really be no other kind, two poor ones at that.

For the third year running the extended Easter weekend of fixtures turned out to be a pointless one for the Lilywhites as the defeat three days earlier to Colwyn Bay was trailed with another, this time to Radcliffe Borough at Stainton Park.

It was a weekend Mossley keeper James Mann will quickly want to forget too as he followed up his error in the Good Friday game which had allowed Bay to take an early lead, with another that was to ultimately hand the home side all three points.

It's an overused cliché at this time of year but there's no other way to describe the match than labelling it a typically dour end of season encounter. The first half was an eminently forgettable affair that Radcliffe probably just about shaded by virtue of getting a couple of shots within ten yards of their intended target.

As you have probably gathered this was not a game for the purists. Come to think if it, or anyone with a passing interest in the noble sport of association football.

The early stages of the second period did nothing to dissuade anyone from the opinion that the match was heading to a wearisome stalemate until a fumble from allowed Borough to edge in front.

It came in the 62nd minute when the keeper failed to hold on to an innocuous looking shot from distance and in doing so spilt into the path of Thomas Brooks; the Radcliffe substitute gleefully sliding the ball into an open net with practically his first touch of the match.

Five minutes later Mossley produced their first shot in anger that was also on target, Chris Hirst forcing a good save out of Phil Priestley with a blistering drive, but apart from a header by Mattie Kay that dropped wide of the post three minutes from time, that was all they could muster in response to the strike from Brooks.

As the game neared its thrilling climax, Alex Mortimer received two yellow cards for dissent within the space of thirty seconds, and with the dismissal went what little there was left of the Lilywhites rapidly diminishing chances of forcing an equaliser.

With four games of the league season left, the end cannot come soon enough for a Mossley side that is looking incredibly weary and slowly starting to crumble on the pitch. Nevertheless, with a cup final against Droylsden to come it’s to be hoped that they do manage to regain a bit of form or the upcoming 90 minutes at Boundary Park could be the longest and bleakest Mossley have seen for quite a while.

I’m not going to lay into Mann for his error as like refereeing, goalkeeping is a thankless task. While an outfield player can get away a series of errors during a game, the person in the number one shirt only has to make one and the game can be lost.

It was though somehow fitting that such a goal settled this game. A good one would have just made a mockery of the ninety minutes that surrounded it.

There’s an argument that a draw would have been a fairer result but there are equally valid ones for both Mossley and Radcliffe deserving the win, although the one for the latter I’ve got to say is significantly more convincing than the one for the former.

I could go on but a) I would only repeating for the most part what I wrote three days ago and b) you’re already bored aren’t you?

Thought so.