Cammell Laird 2 - 1 Mossley

As Sylvester the Cat might put it, "Our cup runneth over!" Not that it ever really began.

You see, hopes of a lucrative run in the FA Cup, and the remote possibility of appearing in a live televised game that's covered badly by ITV, were brought to an end by a piece of refereeing so diabolically poor that the Cammell Laird bench immediately came over to their Mossley counterparts to offer their sympathies.

Of course they could have asked their player to miss the penalty that was the result of that decision but hey, camaraderie in football doesn't extend that far.

The moment of contention came in the 94th minute when Leon Henry nipped in front of a lumbering Lairds player to knock the ball out for a throw-in. As the ball arced over the touchline both players made contact with each other and the one in a blue home shirt stumbled earthwards - incredibly slowly.

It wasn't one, it didn't look like one and nobody appealed for one yet the referee, after five seconds of contemplation, decided to award Cammell Laird a penalty for the incident. To say that you could have heard a pin drop when people realised he was pointing to the penalty spot would be understating things a great deal.

The ludicrousness of the situation was then compounded further when Henry was sent off and the referee started waving yellow cards around like a small child does a balloon on a stick; the Mossley's players rather understandably irate at a decision born out of sheer incompetence. The fact the linesman who was far closer to the incident never signalled a foul, or that the Laird players and supporters never appealed for a penalty should have been an enormous clue that it wasn't one.

I know the game has a problem with officials departing it but if man in the middle in this game (I'm not going to give him the satisfaction of learning who he is) honestly believed that what happened was a penalty then it can afford to lose one more. The fact that another team could soon be on the receiving end of one of his brainstorms one day is a frightening thought.

If there's a crumb of comfort to be taken though from that late debacle it's that we were at least spared the horrifying prospect of watching the two sides play out another ninety minutes in the replay. It was a poor game between two (and I have to be blunt here) pretty poor sides.

The first half I shall largely ignore because it was really pretty frickin' awful. The home side should have taken the lead as it neared its end but for the most part it was devoid of anything notable other than poor football; Mossley once again confined to hoping that a set piece would bear fruit.

What followed after the break was marginally better and no doubt helped by Lairds taking the lead ten minutes in. Not for the first time in this still young season Mossley's defence was opened up by a series of quick, short passes which allowed Corrigan to cut into the box unchallenged and score.

Another ten minutes later and it was all square once again; a Matty Kay header from a Curtis Noble cross bringing to an end a chain of events that began with the Lairds keeper making a monumental hash of a back pass. A goal which if you so wish, you can watch here:

There was then twenty minutes spent watching somebody driving around in a circle in the neighbouring bus depot before another moment of note happened on the pitch. A through ball had sent Curtis Noble galloping towards goal but as approached the area he was scythed down from behind - the red card that followed bringing no complaints at all from the home team.

The free-kick resulting from the challenge was fired narrowly wide by Sam Walker and that appeared to be it for the game, until 'that' moment in the fourth minute of time added on when Lairds won the game.

There is a flip side to that late penalty decision though. While it was grossly unfair on Mossley, it also helps take the spotlight off what was another very below average performance by the Lilywhites. The season may be still in its infancy but there is some cause for concern. I'd like to be able to go into detail about those concerns but I can't be bothered really, especially as I've already touched on them twice this season.

And to be truthful there shouldn't really be a report of any kind here. I had no intention whatsoever of going to this game. It was only after a lengthy discussion that I relented and made the trip (partially in the hope that it in some way would rekindle my spark for the game) and did so with the promise to myself that if anything was going to appear on the blog it would be video only.

However... it's four in the morning, I've got insomnia and this is the result. It's not a great report I know but having only had around five hours sleep in the last 72 hours, it's about the best it's going to get without hallucinations caused by sleep deprivation creeping in. Then again, the introduction of a talking animal or two would improve the football no end at the moment.


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