Mossley 4 - 1 Lancaster City

The best performance of the season.

Quite a dramatic way to start a match report I'm sure you'll agree but it's a statement that is true. We might have knocked three unanswered goals past Harrogate, five past Bedworth and given Trafford a bit of a pummelling but what made this game different is that Lancaster are a good side.

Having already been beaten by the Dolly Blues at Seel Park this season, and with the visitors coming into the game on the back of a 7-1 routing of Woodley Sports at the weekend, there were some doubts on the terraces before the match as to whether Mossley could keep their run of good form – five games unbeaten – going.

I'll hold my hands up here and freely admit that I was one of the naysayers. Being a pessimist I really couldn't see us getting a win. Instead I foresaw a dull game stretching into thirty minutes of unwelcome extra-time, before a lengthy penalty shoot-out declared Lancaster the winners and football the loser. But, unlike a lot of people, I'm more than happy to be proved hopelessly wrong and not for the first time I was.

Ignore the bleatings of some City supporters on their own forum, the ludicrous report in the Lancaster Guardian which called Mossley 'workmanlike': meaningless cup and a few rested players or not - they were well beaten. And in some ways quite fortunate that they weren't beaten by more.

While it's true that Lancaster could have been two goals up at the break as one poster on the aforementioned message board has stated, it gloriously ignores the fact that Mossley could have been not two but three or four up by the time it came for the players to troop off and suck on some orange slices. Or in the case of the visitors, possibly some lemons given the sourness and bitterness they exuded in the second half – I've never seen a team, or to be more exact a defence, whine so much.

The eventual outcome of the game never looked to be in any doubt once Steve Settle gave the home side a 40th minute lead. Prior to it though the game was balanced like a see-saw ridden by two equally porky kids.

The Lilywhites were creating the majority of the chances but just as they'd done against Clitheroe in their previous game, the lack of an end product was giving their opponents goalkeeper, Neil Beesley, a trouble free time.

Lancaster on the other hand weren't posing quite as much of a threat but twice they almost took the lead following good passages of football; Mark Jackson somehow managed to miss an open net and hit the upright with a diving header, and Adam Farrell was denied by a stunning reaction save from Peter Collinge.

But then came Settle's strike which tipped the game in Mossley's favour; the former Leigh winger reacting the quickest to divert a Steve Moore effort across the line after it had rebounded off the underside of the crossbar. Moore did find the back of the net though straight after the interval, doubling the home sides lead with a venomous shot from close range.

The lead was halved almost immediately when Roger Sharrock netted for City but it failed to herald any kind of resurgence in the visitors. Instead it was Mossley who continued to press forward and the two goal advantage was soon restored when Graham Kay headed a Ben Richardson cross past Beesley. Twelve minutes later Kay's namesake Matty sealed the victory, and with it a place in the next round, with a shot from just outside the box.

In the closing stages of the game the Lilywhites had more chances to inflict further misery on their opponents but the winning margin remained at three, mainly due to the sole efforts of Beesley as his defence crumbled in front of him.

I know that I've omitted quite a bit of detail regarding the goals but why paint a picture with a thousand words when you can just look at that picture? Or rather a couple of hundred of them shown sequentially at a rate of twenty four a second? Because that's what you'll – hopefully – be able to do at some point over the next couple of days.

It's not going to be high quality footage but after the 'successful' trial (a conclusion arrived at simply because there was no moaning) in the Radcliffe cup game a few weeks ago, I'm going to convert the footage of the goals into animated gifs and put them online. You can thank me later... or more than likely not at all! (And they're here if you want to see them.)

Whatever the pros and cons are of the President's Cup (the latter being significantly greater in number than the former) , the opportunity for Mossley to register a good win over a good side and extend their lossless streak will undoubtedly give them a boost as they head to Spalding United in the FA Trophy this coming weekend.

And I say this with all due respect but it's hard to believe that this side is almost the same one that was struggling so badly a little over four weeks ago. A solid looking defence, a highly competitive midfield and a mobile forward line playing intelligent, attacking football – those long ball infested defeats to Salford and Lancaster seem almost sepia tinted.

I'll end though by saying I'm having second thoughts about that opening to this report. It seems a bit too final for me so I shall amend it a little:

The best performance of the season... so far!