Mossley 3 - 1 Hyde United

Ring out the bells and hark the sound of trumpets because a turn up is heading for the books!

The cause for celebration isn't the result (after all, we did beat Hyde at this stage last year too) but the fact it I actually kind of enjoyed a game of football for the first time in a long while. I know, I can't quite believe it myself. It may only turn out to be a fleeting thing but I might as well enjoy it while it lasts.

I knew the night was going to be different when on the way to the match, one of the Mormon missionaries sat a couple of seats in front of me on the bus, started taking photos of the adverts stuck on the wall. No, I've no idea why either but he was getting very excited about an anthropomorphised drinks carton on a "take home your litter" ad. Maybe they're objects of worship in Salt Lake City, who knows?

The sightings of unusual things didn't end there either. Over the course of the evening I not only saw Mossley run rings around a Blue Square North side but a goalkeeper open the scoring, Lee Blackshaw score with a header, a linesman stunned by a referee's decision, a centre half do a reverse flick ten yards outside the opposition box and lots more I've simply forgotten.

Apart that is from something that ranks very low on the list of things you's like to see happen more often in the game - somebody diving not once but twice to try and win a penalty in the closing stages of a friendly in which his side is trailing by three goals. Commitment to the last or just plain old cuckoo? The choice, ladies and gentlemen, is yours.

Anyway, the match itself.

For the first twenty minutes the teams seemed evenly matched but once Mossley keeper Peter Collinge had drop kicked the ball over his opposite numbers head to give the Lilywhites the lead, it became the kind of contest the phrase "one way traffic" was invented for.

Although Mossley were only able to add to their total twice more (with a deflection playing a significant helping hand, or rather bum as you'll see in the video for one of them), Hyde could have had no complaints if the score had been double or even triple what it was.

The upright was hit on three separate occasions, chances were scuffed wide,over or into the arms of the keeper but more importantly, and for the first time this pre-season, Mossley looked dangerous every time they went forward.

But why read when you can watch?

There were some very good displays all over the pitch. Not least from a new arrival playing in central midfield. Displaying all the qualities of someone who looks like they've played at a far higher level he was very good. But as I said earlier, they all were.

Of course the caveat is that you've no idea how strong the side Hyde put out was. But scratch team or not they got beat. And convincingly too.

Fingers crossed then that the good stuff continues against what is going to be a full strength Wigan Robin Park side on Thursday.

Ashton United 1 - 1 Mossley

Such is my total lack of enthusiasm at the moment for all things football that I was going to give this game a miss. Even it was a fixture against a very local team that I have a lot of time for.

With just under an hour to go though to kick-off and an afternoon of doing not a lot in front of me, I thought "I may as well." If the game wasn't up to much at least I'd have had have a pleasant stroll down Gorsey Lane to get to Hurst Cross. And over the course of the opening forty five minutes it looked as though that walk from the Junction Inn to the ground would turn out to be the highlight of the day.

That's not to say the first half was dull - it merely meandered a course between 14:58 and 15:44, occasionally jolting into a modicum of life.

Peter Collinge was called on to make a good save a couple of minutes after kick-off and his opposite number did well to stop what professional match reporters would call a "cheeky chip" from Jordan Goodeve sneaking under his crossbar (yes, you did just read correctly that Jordan Goodeve is turning out for Mossley once again). Along with the home side hitting the upright in strangely undramatic circumstances, that was about as good as it got.

Thankfully what followed after the break was marginally better. A situation helped in no small part by the home side taking the lead in rather impressive fashion just before the hour mark; a shot from distance that looked bound for the back of the net the moment the ball the left the Ashton trialists boot.

Mossley's response was late in coming - the 89th minute to be exact - but it proved to be just as good the goal that preceded it, if for a completely different reasons. While Ashton's goal was a born of a moment of individual brilliance, the equaliser was brilliant in it's simplicity. A quickly taken free-kick, an inch perfect cross from Leon Henry and Nathan Neequaye planting the ball beyond the reach of the keeper with a firm header.

And so it finished a draw. An unarguably fair result truth be told given that neither side really impressed over the other: the Robins had the better of the opening stages to each half, the Lilywhites the better of the closing stages to each period.

To be perfectly blunt, on the strength of this game, and I know it's unwise to make judgements based on pre-season matches, neither side looks like they're going to rip up any trees in their respective leagues this season.

But then as a Mossley fan I'm just happy with the fact that there'll be a season for us to aim to finish mid-table in.

Now I appreciate that having read my review of events some of you will be thinking that the game wasn't that bad. If you are then I congratulate you on having a higher threshold of boredom than me, or achieving a state of intoxication so great that it would render even the Horne and Corden Show entertaining.

But like I said way back at the beginning of this posting, my interest in the sport has waned a fair bit over the summer. I've no idea why that's happened but what I do know is that it's going to take more than what I saw in this game for me to rediscover the love of it again.

Oh well, only two* more to go before I find out if the start of the season can re-ignite my interest.

* Yes, I'm aware Mossley have four more friendlies left but given how much trouble it was for me to work up the enthusiasm to go to Hurst Cross, do you really think I'm going to go to Glossop and Kidsgrove?

Mossley 2 - 1 Flixton

Another friendly comes and goes leaving us one game closer to the start of the season, but possibly none the wiser as to what the starting line-up may look like when the Lilywhites take to the field against Garforth in August.

We all know that these types of fixtures are predominantly for fitness purposes so it seems churlish to complain about the quality of the game but this wasn't a particularly good ninety minutes of football. One in which only a few players shone and others will be hoping for another chance.

The lack of people watching the game won't have helped the clubs finances either, at least not in the short term. However it could reap dividends in the future because if a host of new potential spectators had turned up to watch this game they'd probably never be back.

With five minutes to go to kick-off there were considerably more people on the pitch then there were on the terraces. Thankfully the time the match actually started spectators just about outnumbered those running about on the grass.

I'm not going to complain though about people stopping away from this game. In fact I can understand why so many did. I mean, it's only a weird sense of loyalty, there being nothing good on TV on Tuesday evenings and the fact I don't have a life that got me up to Seel Park for this fixture.

Hopefully some of the people who could have attended weren't sat at home, waiting to watch it on their PC's as this website said they'd be able to do.

Before the match there was a minutes silence for the local man who'd just lost his life because he was a member of the Army in Afghanistan. Whether you agree with the war or not, the very least you can do is give a minute of your own life to stand in silence in remembrance of somebody who lost theirs in a tragic way.

That's what I thought anyway. Unfortunately two Flixton players couldn't bring themsleves to stand still for 60 seconds and spent that time continuing to go through their stretching exercises and jogging on the spot. Well done to the pair of them for complete lack of respect.

That the match itself never actually caught fire which wasn't unsurprising considering the amount of rain that fell prior to the match and during the first half. What is it with the start of the football season that causes the weather to change from warm and sunny to the kind which makes you think evolution is going to give fans gills within a few generations.

Mossley dominated the game from start to finish but, and stop me if you've heard this one before, they couldn't turn the significant amounts of possession into shots on goal. If anything it was the visitors who should have taken the lead midway through the opening half when their otherwise impressive left winger missed a free header in front of an open goal.

As the opening half neared it's conclusion Danny Dignan finally put Mossley ahead by calmly placing Danny Egan's headed flick on past the Flixton keeper. The visiting goalie then gifted Mossley their second moments later by throwing the ball straight to the feet of Egan who hit it straight into from 25 yards.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first with chances few and far between, the only difference being that this time it was Flixton who found the net. And I think that they were just as surprised as us! They did so only once though, allowing the Lilywhites to register their second pre-season win.

Hopefully the presence of better opponents at Hurst Cross will see Mossley lift their game a bit for the next fixture this Saturday. If it doesn't and it's more of the same, I'm going to do something I said I'd never ever do on Tuesday and stop in and watch Holby City instead of a game at Seel Park. At least then I can be bored senseless in my slippers.

Mossley 1 - 3 Droylsden

This doesn't bode well for the coming nine or so months. Just three games into the pre-season schedule and I'm struggling to write a match report. Then again I suppose that not all of the upcoming matches are going to be quite as mundane as this one. At least I hope not.

To start with though the score in the title of this posting is actually a bit misleading. It should read:

strong Mossley XI 1 - 1 strong Droylsden XI and

Mossley's trialists 0 - 2 Droylsden's trialists

The first half wasn't too bad. It wasn't a classic, far from it, but it had a reasonably competitive edge to it that was sorely missing after the break.

Mossley took a fourth minute lead through Mattie Kay and despite a decent amount of possession over the remainder of the half, there were very few chances that followed it; a situation not entirely helped by Nathan Neequaye having to plough a lonely furrow up front against four rather large Conference North defenders.

As such it was the visitors who always looked the more likely to add further goals to the score sheet. That they only managed to do so once was down to that trusty old Mossley combination of some good defending, good goalkeeping and a fair smattering of luck.

I have to confess that I'm not a big fan of friendly matches. If it wasn't for a sense of loyalty and duty I'd probably reinforce my standing as not being a 'true supporter' by giving them a miss. I understand why they're there and what the benefits are but there's nothing really in it for the average spectator. And it's forty five minutes like those which followed after the break that do nothing to dissuade me from my low opinion of them.

The passing of the interval saw both sides make sweeping changes to their line-ups and the game became the proverbial damp squib - even if it did contain a couple of goals.

With so many new faces on the pitch Mossley lost any semblance of structure they had (for one extended period we appeared to be playing a revolutionary 4-6-0 formation) and neither of the two keepers Droylsden used in the second period had a save to make.

That's not to say the Bloods were any better. They began the half with a series of over the top challenges before edging themselves ahead with a well worked goal. Late in the game they capitalised on a lack of communication in the Mossley back line to add a third and that was that.

The summary of what happened between the 46th and 90th minutes being: two goals, a few bad tackles and an awful lot of nothing in between. As you can now see for yourself in the... actually, I'm loathe to use the term highlights:

Apologies for noise of the wind - it couldn't be helped.

If I was looking at the game from a Droylsden point of view I could have probably eked a few more paragraphs out of proceedings, but from a Mossley perspective there really isn't much to write about. Some players did well, some didn't. It was definitely one of those games in which the managers will have got more out of it than those who paid to watch.

Having touched briefly on my dislike of friendly games above, I'd like to point you in the direction of this article which pretty much mirrors my feelings about them.

Mossley 5 - 0 Bury

Even though the friendly season got unde rway for Mossley last Saturday with the hastily arranged game at Dukinfield Town, this actually felt like the 'official' start to the phoney war.

A warm summer's evening, the pitch looking good, an unusually large crowd for a pre-season game, plenty of goals and good football - as these kinds of occasions go it wasn't too shabby at all.

While the opposition - and I'm going to be generous here - underperformed, Mossley acquitted themselves very well. Apart from a few departures, the vast majority of last season's squad are back at the club and that's no bad thing.

The second half, not unexpectedly, was mostly made up of trialists and a significant number, if not all, of them impressed to one extent or the other. Even taking into account the calibre of the opposition and the friendly status of both the fixture and the tackling, there were some pretty nifty looking players in a Lilywhites shirt for the first time.

I'd tell you who they were but a) I don't want to tip off any other clubs to their availability and b) I haven't got the foggiest what there names are anyway.

I could go into greater detail about the match but as a picture can paint a thousand words, you're probably better off watching a series of them flicker at 24 frames per second. It's far more entertaining than reading a badly worded recollections of what happened.

As the score is given away in the title to this posting, I'm hardly going to spoil your viewing pleasure by telling you who put the ball in Bury's net five times so here goes: Danny's Dignan and Egan got one each and Nathan Neequaye notched a hat-trick.

Anyway, that video I was telling you about:

If the video makes it look like things were one sided, that's because it was.

It might only have been a youth side that they sent but as the Shakers have no reserve team, this was effectively the back up to their first team squad and they were... well, I'll just say that I hope there's no major injury crisis at Bury this coming season.

One (or two) down, seven to go before the serious stuff begins.

Dukinfield Town 3 - 3 Mossley

Well this was a surprise. And I don't just mean the fact that the blog has been updated after nearly a month of inactivity.

Until 10:30 yesterday morning I, along with many other people, was under the impression that Mossley's pre-season campaign would get under way on Wednesday night against Bury. However a short message posted on the forum on Friday evening stated that the Lilywhites would in fact be beginning their preparations for the 09/10 season at Dukinfield Town in a little over 18 hours time.

Unlike those lucky supporters who got at least 12 hours more notice than I did about the match, I had to cram my umm-ing and ahh-ing about whether to the attend the game into a very short period of time. After a couple of hours of definitely not going, it was at the last possible minute that I decided "what the hell!" and picked up my camera and headed off to Town's home ground at Blocksages.

Forty five minutes, and one ultra depressing bus ride round Brushes estate, later I was basking in the summer sun over Dukinfield with the handful of other Mossley supporters who had holes in their Saturday schedules.

The Lilywhites (wearing a black t-shirt and orange bib combo) lined up with the only eleven players at manager Chris Wilcock's disposal. From last season's side there was Ben Richardson, Nick Boothby, Reece Kelly, Danny Egan and Kieran Fletcher while new signing Peter Collinge was in goal. I've no idea who the other five were though but on this performance there didn't appear to be a clunker amongst them, which is unusual for any match involving a significant number of trialists.

By the time the match was due to start at 3:00pm the score was already one apiece. For reasons that will be lost in time like Roy Batty's tears in the rain in Blade Runner, the match started fifteen minutes early and Kelly's fifth minute penalty was cancelled out by a spot kick at the other end of the pitch three minutes later.

The home side probably shaded the rest of the half which wasn't really surprising as a) their players didn't have to pace themselves for ninety minutes due to the large number of substitutes they had to call on and b) unlike Mossley they were fielding a familiar looking line-up.

The second half began like the first with a quick two goal burst. Dukinfield went ahead for the first time in the match with a firm header to end a good move before Egan tied the scores by lobbing Collinge's long punt down field over the Town keeper.

A second penalty, this time scored by Egan, edged Mossley in front again but the lead didn't last long - a well taken volley that Collinge had little chance of stopping completing the scoring sequence.

As cobweb dusters go this game wasn't a bad one. It wasn't a great one but then you don't expect that for the first match back after the summer break. Pre-season friendlies after all aren't supposed to live long in the memory - they're the football equivalent of fast food. Or is that five-a-side matches?

Anyway, the arrival of the Shakers on Wednesday "should" mean we see a better game and hopefully, as there's been a bit more notice of this fixture, the support will outnumber the playing squad greatly rather than just!