Mossley 0 - 2 Lancaster City

If when the fixtures were announced in July you were to ask any level headed Mossley fan (yes, there are some) if they'd be happy with three points from the first three games - games against teams who've been prickly thorns in the Lilywhites' side over the past few years - they'd probably have said yes.

Therefore the fact that those three games yielded just those three points shouldn't really set the alarm bells ringing. What does though is that after claiming a first ever win at Garforth on the opening day of the campaign, Mossley barely let out a whimper in losing to, first, Colwyn Bay and then Lancaster City.

While the defeat to the Welsh side was heavier, the reversal against Lancaster was possibly worse as not only were they nowhere near as impressive a side as Colwyn Bay (not that they needed to be given Mossley's performance or lack of it) but lessons that ought to have been learnt after the midweek game weren't.

It was the visitors who wielded most, if not all, of the early pressure and there reward was quick in coming. A low cross field pass in the 14th minutes split Mossley wide open and after cutting in from the wing Mike Rushton made no mistake when angling his shot past keeper Peter Collinge.

Some good, if at times desperate, defending and a couple of slices of luck prevented the lead from doubling on more than occasion; the Lilywhites penalty area playing host to a succession of scrambles in which the ball bounced around as if it were a pinball.

Unfortunately they were problems Mossley never looked like causing at the opposite end of the pitch, as an isolated front line again struggled to get close to winning any of the succession of high balls being pumped towards them. It was only at set-pieces where they were getting a modicum of joy: an in swinging corner from Curtis Noble was headed off the line and it was from another of his dead ball deliveries that Matty Kay scissor kicked a chance narrowly over the cross bar.

That the half-time whistle arrived with Mossley only the one goal in arrears was something of a relief. The hope that the break would give the home side a chance to regroup though was dashed within a minute of the match restarting.

Straight from the kick-off Mossley surrendered possession in the cheapest manner possible and moments later a right wing cross was allowed to roll across the face of the net to where Paul Jarvis was arriving unmarked at the back post. A goal virtually identical to the one Mossley conceded just after the interval against Bay.

Two should have been three not long after. Again it was another cross that was able to travel untroubled along the six yard box but this time the City forward somehow conspired to direct the ball onto the post rather than into the open net.

It wasn't until the 78th minute that City's keeper Martin Fearon was finally called on to extend himself. Picking up the ball at the back of the box following a slightly over hit corner, substitute Nathan McDonald unleashed a fierce volley that Fearon did well to deflect away to safety.

Rather than the start of a spirited fight back however it proved to be Mossley's last act in anger at attempting to rescue the game. With Lancaster content to sit on their lead and the Lilywhites misfiring as an attacking threat, the match drifted slowly towards the conclusion that looked an inevitability from almost the moment the second period started. That meant ten minutes of watching the grass slowly grow which, if you paid full price admission, equated to around 78p to witness such a privilege.

I could if I wanted make this report twice as long with my other thoughts on the game. But in doing so I’d only be repeating what I wrote in the latter sections of my review of the last match, except maybe with a touch more exasperation.

There was the same lack of ideas. The same hopes pinned on a long ball game that didn’t work. Similarities in the way the defence and midfield switched off at inopportune moments. All of which combined lead to something of a pretty miserable afternoon.

As I kind of intimated way back at the beginning, as a supporter you don’t mind your team losing - it is part and parcel of the game after all - its how you lose that’s important. If they’ve gone down battling you can have no complaints. If however it’s one where the white flag was waved pretty early on, you have right to the leave the ground feeling slightly miffed and there were some slightly miffed people heading towards the exits on Saturday.

Before I bring this report to a mercifully swift conclusion though I’m going to point one thing out. Over the course of the ninety minutes against Lancaster we managed not one single shot on target during open play, with only one off target in the same period. And if that’s not sign that something may not be quite right, I don’t know what is.

Of course it’s still early days and no season has ever been decided on the events of its first week. But with important cup games on the horizon it’s to be hoped that Mossley quickly find the form that’s so far eluded them.

And frankly it’s a hope that wouldn’t go amiss for these match reports either! Fingers crossed one of them contains something mildly amusing very soon.