Oldham Boro 2 - 3 Cheadle Town

In various corners of the media there's a growing support for the belief that global warming is a myth. The evidence they use to back up their claims are recent scientific reports that say the earth's temperature has actually cooled over the last few years.

I on the other hand would like to counter those claims with some evidence of my own that proves the earth is getting warmer: it's taken till the end of November for Mossley to have their first match postponed due to the weather.

Usually by this stage of the season, the T.B.A. section at the bottom of the fixture list is already full of meetings that have been delayed by frost, freezing fog, etc. Yet here we are, about to open the first door on our Advent Calendars and we've only had one 'Match Off!' posting on the forum.

It wasn't only Mossley's game with Ossett Albion that the deluge over the last few days affected. A sizeable chunk of fixtures across the north-west were written off through waterlogged pitches; a situation which led some hasty scrambling around on the internet to find a local game to attend.

Three possibilities presented themselves. However a total lack of desire to see Droylsden vs Hyde (£10 to watch that - no thank you) or Ashton United vs North Ferriby United (like the Robins but not enough to watch them at Hurst Cross in the rain) meant there was only one option left.

So with flask, gloves and umbrellas packed we headed to the Whitebank Stadium to see fellow visitors Cheadle Town take on Oldham Town, sorry, Boro in the Vodkat League Division One Trophy; the presence of four Mossley supporters with nothing better to do bumping the gate up by almost 13% and swelling the clubs coffers by £17.90.

I'm not going to go into enormous detail about the match but if you want to read about what happened then I recommend checking out the report here because it's a) better than one I could ever come up with and b) the person who wrote it actually knows the names of the players.

To sum things up briefly though, it was a genuinely enjoyable game with both sides trying to play good, passing football on a pitch that was suitable for anything but. The result was harsh on Oldham too who dominated most of the game but ultimately paid the price for not getting enough of their chances on target; something that's known as being 'a bit Mossley-ish'.

Anyway, in what's likely to be one of the least watched videos I've ever done, you can see some of the events that unfolded in the following highlights... thingy:

It wasn't a bad way to spend what would have been an otherwise depressing afternoon watching Manchester City snatch a draw from victory's jaws against Hull via the internet. Actually I enjoyed it enough to think about making another visit sometime in the near future.

Before that though it's off to watch Mossley at Woodley Sports on Tuesday where, barring another outbreak of swine flu at Lambeth Grove or the plastic pitch bio-degrading within the space of two days, the match will definitely go ahead.

Woodley on a cold and possibly wet Tuesday night in December, I can't wait... for it to be over.

Mossley 0 - 2 Ilkeston Town

After a series of bangs in this years FA Trophy, Mossley exited it the competition with a bit of a whimper as, on what's turning out to be a stereotypically wet and windy Tuesday night at Seel Park, a replay against Blue Square North side Ilkeston Town proved to be a game too far for the Unibond North club.

The initial match three days earlier had, despite the difference of two divisions between the teams, been an evenly fought contest. The initial stages of this fixture though were anything but as Ilkeston dominated possession (a situation helped by Mossley continually handing it to them) and pinned the Lilywhites into their own half of the pitch for long periods.

Barely three minutes had gone when the first chance of the evening presented itself. Foreshadowing what would be Mossley's downfall later in the match, left winger Rory Prendergast (on one of the rare occasions he remained upright while a white shirt within twenty yards of him) took advantage of some lax marking to power a header towards goal, only for his effort to be met by a very good save from Peter Collinge.

The keeper though was beaten a couple of minutes later by an opportunistic effort from Gary Ricketts but on this occasion the upright came to both his and his colleagues assistance. Ricketts profligacy then came to Mossley's rescue as the Town striker spurned some good chances, notably through his Thierry Henry-esque ability to touch the ball with his hand during the build-up.

One can only assume that it was the tiresome regularity with which he appeared to be auditioning for the role of Kobe Bryant's successor at the LA Lakers that the referee stopped punishing him for it in the second half. Then again this was the same official who, three days earlier, declared a fully intentioned back pass to be accidental and let Prendergast go unpunished for two horrible tackles, so we shouldn't rule old fashioned incompetence out of the equation either.

The Lilywhites then successfully endured a series free-kicks just outside their own penalty area before surviving what appeared to be a very good claim for a penalty as Ricketts was sent crashing to the ground courtesy of an ill-advised tackle.

When the home side finally stopped trying to wallop the ball as hard as they could in the general direction of the goal at the opposite end of the pitch, they began to get a foothold in the game. In fact they began to cause a great deal of panic in their opponents defence by simply attacking them with the ball on the floor. And had it not been for a spectacular double save by Dan Lowson to deny Lee Blackshaw and Matty Kay, and the former again not long after, the Lilywhites would have held the lead when the half-time whistle blew.

However, rather than being a promise of better things to come after the interval, it turned out to be the only threat Mossley would pose on the night.

The second half was, to put it mildly, one way traffic as Town controlled it in the same way they'd done the opening thirty minutes of the first and Mossley returned to pumping the ball high into the strong wind blowing into their faces.

Even though they weren't creating quite as many chances as they had been in the previous period, a goal looked an inevitability and it duly arrived just before the hour. Having failed to heed the warning about leaving players unmarked when Ricketts fired wide just after the restart, Mossley paid the price for leaving the same man to his own devices at a corner in the 55th minute; the Robins' forward heading the ball through what appeared to be a crowd of statues and into the net.

The failure to close players down came back to haunt Mossley once more when the deficit was doubled five minutes later. O'Loughlin was allowed to stand unchallenged for what seemed like an age with the ball at his feet just inside the Mossley half, giving him time to pick out the head of Ricketts with a lofted pass which was in turn looped over Collinge from the edge of the box.

With the Lilywhites showing little sign of staging a late comeback (something which has been a feature of their last three games in the FA Trophy) the second goal effectively signalled an end to the game as a contest.

With Mossley looking unlikely claw their way back into the game, the referee could have done everyone a favour and brought the game to a close with over a third of it still remaining. At least that way we'd have been spared the embarrassing sight of Ilkeston players throwing themselves to the ground in order to win a penalty.

The "Curzon Ashton award for trying to seek an unfair advantage" on the night went to Sam Duncum who didn't even wait for a challenge to come in before plummeting to earth like a dead pigeon. It was a spectacularly appalling piece of gamesmanship but it needed to be to wrestle the award of out Rory Prendergast's grasp who'd gone for quantity and not quality in terms of his theatrics.

It was a truly embarrassing spectacle to not only watch players throw themselves to the ground in a game they were winning 2-0, but the referee refuse to take any action either. As I've already made my feelings known about the man in black though I won't bore you again here with another rant about his head slapping approach to officiating the game.

Admittedly the late introduction of a two man attack did allow Mossley to huff and puff a little but the results were similar to those experienced by the wolf in the final chapter of The Three Little Pigs; the sum total of their efforts being nothing more than a solitary corner kick.

Some things are meant to be - this just never looked like being.

I'm not going to be overly critical of a side that has spent the vast majority of the last two months unbeaten; a period of time during which they've played some very good, nay excellent, football and have a lot to be proud of. You can't help but feel though that this game is going to be one looked back on with a bit of disappointment and a touch of regret as they were not the best they and we know they can be.

Of course some credit for this does go to Ilkeston who looked decidedly more focused than they had been the previous Saturday but you don't really have to do anything special when your opponents are playing right into your hands.

One of our best outlets over recent weeks has been Steve Settle yet he was turned into a peripheral figure in this game. Three days earlier he'd posed so much of a threat to Ilkeston that at one point in the closing stages of that game he had three players marking him. In this fixture though he rarely saw the ball, though to be honest hardly any of the attacking players saw much of it as Mossley spent the vast majority of the game pinging it from one end of the pitch to the other. Yes, after months of good passing football the long ball made a dreaded reappearance.

I'm not saying that a ranging ball from the back can't be an effective tool, it can be a devastating weapon in a teams arsenal. There are two things though that can negate that effect. The first is the weather. If it's windy it's more than likely that any punt forward will be over hit if the breeze is behind you and a complete waste of time if you're kicking into it. Secondly, if the focus of your attack is a lone, diminutive centre forward (and one who spends 50% of them walking back to an onside position after the previous one) he's not going to stand a chance against a couple of towering centre halves.

Sadly though the presence of both these drawbacks didn't stop us from continually hitting it high and long. It can be argued that the pressure Town were exerting was causing us to 'lump it' but that doesn't stand up under close scrutiny. There were numerous occasions during the game when Mossley had time to build an attack but the short pass to an unmarked colleague was often overlooked in favour of the hoof to no-one in particular.

It's not as though the pitch was unplayable as Ilkeston were managing to knock the ball around on the floor. And we did too for a 15 minute spell before the break - a period during which we had Town wobbling like the flag pole was in the strong wind. But for reasons unknown we abandoned this working approach in favour of the one that wasn't when the second half began.

It's all done and dusted though now. The game is consigned to the history books and will no doubt be the topic of numerous “What if?” discussions over the coming days and weeks, though probably not months and years. All that remains to be seen is how we bounce back from this defeat against Ossett in the next game. Hopefully we'll be back to having attacking wing backs, a well fed forward line, a dominant midfield and a commanding defence giving Peter Collinge little to do. Weather and team selections permitting of course.

But to end (yes, this is going to end) despite my criticisms of the way in which we left the Trophy I'd like to say a big thank you to the players and management for giving us a cup run that has the left me, and no doubt many others, with some indelible memories. Hopefully the success such efforts deserve to be rewarded with will not be long in coming.

Ilkeston Town 1 - 1 Mossley

Time. Unfortunately it's something I don't have enough of at the moment - especially today - so circumstances dictate that, another fantastic late comeback or not, this is going to be a very short match report.

Therefore I'm not going to be able to menion things like: some of the baffling refereeing decisions; Ilkeston's cynical fouling as Mossley gained the upper hand in the last ten minutes (I'm looking at you Town no.3, Mr Prendergast); the cold chips and soggy salt; the Robin's manager Kevin Wilson being hilariously sent to the stand as panic set in; the lack of any kind of notification as to how much injury time would be added on to the end of the game (six and half minutes as it turned out) and, as K-Tel used to claim about their compilation albums, many, many more.

So instead, it's straight to the 'very straight' match report with a bit of a bonus on the end...

For the second round running in the FA Trophy a late goal from Steve Moore, though not quite as last gasp as the one at Brackley, was enough to earn Mossley a draw against higher level opposition and force a replay.

The first half was almost as drab as the weather hanging above the Blue Square North sides New Manor Ground. Only twice beneath the wet and grey sky did the game burst into a modicum of life.

The first occasion was when an early spell of pressure saw Peter Collinge produce an excellent save to deny Gary Rickett as broke through the visitors defence, followed moments later by an equally good stop to prevent Amari Morgan-Smith from opening the scoring.

Midway through the half it became Mossley's turn to threaten the score line. Steve Settle brought a good save out of Dan Lowson with a stinging shot and the resulting corner, an inswinger from Karl Brown, was somehow bundled off the line by Paul Dempsey as players in white shirts bore down on him.

That proved to be the last noteworthy event of the opening period and the dull first half gave way to what looked like being an even duller second until Ilkeston took a 55th minute lead. Mossley looked to have dealt comfortably with a Town attack but an ill-advised pass across the edge of the box was intercepted by Sam Duncum who, after cutting past Andy Russell, curled a shot beyond the reach of Collinge.

It was only after they edged themselves in front that Ilkeston began to look, albeit briefly, like a team two divisions higher than their opponents. Rickett fired wide when it looked far easier to score and Dan Holmes hit the post as the visitors confined Mossley to their own defensive third of the pitch.

Their failure to take any of these chances proved to be costly when Mossley levelled the score with eleven minutes of the match remaining. It was literally a goal out of nowhere too as even though they'd had the same amount of possession as their hosts, the Lilywhites had barely mounted an attack, let alone managed a shot in anger, since the interval.

Taking advantage of some indecision in Town's midfield, Jordan Goodeve played a pass through the centre of the home defence to Steve Moore. After taking one touch to control the ball Moore drove it low past Lowson with his second to give the visitors a shock leveller.

Not surprisingly the goal gave Mossley a huge lift and for the first time in the half the home team were having to defend deeply. There was to be only one more chance though before the final whistle and it fell the way of the Lilywhites; Russell's powerful header from a Settle cross however could only find the hands of Lowson.

Taking the game as a whole though the draw was probably the fairest result, meaning that both teams will now have to face one another again at what's likely to be an even wet and windier Seel Park.

Anyway, here's the bonus bit that you've probably skipped through what's written above to see.

I don't have the time to do edit the footage together as I normally would so it's a bit rough and ready (i.e. rubbish and why it's on Viddler and not YouTube yet) but you don't really care do you? You just want to see Mossley go close to scoring before eventually doing just that and that's precisely what the following video does:

FC Halifax Town 2 - 1 Mossley

If you were to list the various sporting titles and trophies available in this country in order of importance, the Unibond League President's cup would be ranked somewhere alongside those certificates handed out to kids who finish last in sports day's at school's for the athletically challenged.

It's a blight on the season. A cup with no prestige that inhabits the fixture lists like an unpleasant odour and is a guaranteed money loser for all involved; a competition in what little cash is received through the small attendances will barely cover the cost of switching the lights on, let alone any of the other expenses accrued.

As long as there's a final for some people to look important at and a free buffet for dignitaries to hoover up, I'm afraid we'll have to put up with it.

Naturally after all that you're undoubtedly expecting me to say something like "So I'm glad we're out of it" but I'm not going to. I'm not going trot out the excuses used by supporters of Leigh and Lancaster either and claim that we didn't want to win it anyway because we're focussed on other, more important cup games.

Instead I'm going to be honest and admit that I'm as disappointed by the defeat but not for the reason you may think. It's nothing to do with the fact that we lost or that we didn't give a good account of ourselves (because we did). No, it's the fact the 14 match unbeaten run Mossley went into the game on the back of ended in such a particularly harsh way: a goal deep into injury time putting Halifax in front for the first time in a match that was pretty evenly fought.

But who are we to complain about those types of goals, seeing as we've benefited from so many late to last minute ones over the past month or so? If anything it shows that if there is someone that controls fate, he or she does a very good line in irony.

The match started well for Mossley with them doing most, if not all, of the early pressing. The two Steve's - Moore and Settle - as well as Nathan Neequaye all having a chance each to make the Lilywhites opening to the game a great one rather than a good one.

The visitors persistence was rewarded though in the 21st minute when Graham Kay headed Karl Brown's corner towards a crowded goal and thanks to a bizarre series of deflections off a multitude of different body parts, the ball eventually crossed the line to give Mossley a deserved lead.

It was a lead too that didn't appear to be in any danger, such was the lack of threat from Halifax but as half-time approached the home side rather fortuitously found themselves back in the game. A rare piece of untidy defending on the night allowed Mark Peers to find space and take a shot at goal. His effort was a poor one and appeared to be heading into touch until it took an enormous deflection off the back of Graham Kay, sending the ball flying past a wrong footed Peter Collinge and into the net.

The equaliser seemed to rock Mossley a little and the half ended with Town enjoying their first sustained spell of pressure in the game. It was one that would have seen them enter the interval in front too if it hadn't been for a point blank save from Collinge and an immaculately timed goal line tackle from Tom Spearitt.

What followed after the break was a much more even contest with both sides taking it in turns to put their opponents goal under pressure. James Dean and Peers had a couple of opportunities each to edge Halifax ahead, while at the other end of the pitch some inaccurate shooting was hampering Mossley's hopes of doing something similar.

The best chance though did fall Mossley's way. It came when the ball spilled out to the feet of Matty Kay after the Town keeper and a defender had clattered into one another in an attempt to break up an attack. His shot however was blocked by the head of Mark Hotte as he picked himself slowly (and I mean 'raising the Mary Rose off the sea bed' slowly) off the ground following the collision with his team mate. An unintentional block too judging by his surprised reaction after the ball had bounced off his bonce to safety.

And then came the final twist to proceedings. With the game in injury time and and an extra thirty minutes looking a distinct and unwelcome possibility, Halifax won a corner. The initial effort resulting from the inswinging cross was cleared off the line by Sam Walker. The ball though fell kindly for Dean who sent it back towards goal and for the third time on the night a deflection helped a shot reach the back of its intended target.

As I said earlier though the result was harsh on Mossley. Then again if it had been the other way round and it was Steve Moore scoring a 92nd minute winner rather than James Dean the result would have been unfair on Halifax too. But then again, are there ever any winners in this particular competition?

We knew the unbeaten run had to come to an end sooner or later as all good things tend to do but there's a modicum of comfort to be had in that it didn't end with a whimper. It actually finished with us busting a gut to make it 15 in a row in an eminently pointless competition and for that reason the team should be applauded.

Goodbye to the President's Cup then. At least until we reacquaint ourselves with it again next year. I for one can't wait!

Sorry! Actually I can.

Rossendale United 1 - 2 Mossley

Thirteen became fourteen on the fourteenth of the eleventh month for Mossley as the Lilywhites extended current unbeaten run by one more game. The latest notch on the pole coming at the expense of bottom of the table Rossendale United.

Realistically though we should still be sitting on the business end of a thirteen game streak as this latest instalment in Mossley's season should never have a took place. Instead of the numbers one and two accompanying the team names in the title of this post there should really be a couple of p's because if ever there was a game that deserved to be postponed it was this one.

Torrential rain in the hours leading up to kick-off had left the Dark Lane pitch resembling one more suited to growing rice on than playing football but to many people's astonishment the referee still deemed it to be playable. So, with a sizeable percentage of the playing surface under water, the match kicked off from the large pool where the centre spot should have been.

Unsurprisingly the match was more akin to a kick around on the beach as the tide came in than a game of football. It was in these farcical conditions though that Mossley took a sixth minute lead. Steve Settle was tripped as he cut into the box from the right wing, which gave Steve Moore the opportunity to score his ninth goal for the club from the penalty spot.

Even at this early stage of the game it was a goal that had seemed somehow inevitable as the Lilywhites got to grips with the puddles and ponds a lot faster than their hosts. Despite dominating proceedings though they couldn't turn the large amounts of possession they enjoyed into meaningful
efforts on Bob Harris's goal.

As the game wore on, and the waters began to recede a little, Rossendale started to create a few chances themselves. Even so, their equaliser in the 20th minute still came as something of a shock. A cross from the right appeared to be harmless but a lapse in concentration allowed Josh Mitten squeeze between a defender and the goalkeeper to turn it into the net.

The goal turned out to be the last moment of note in the half and things didn't improve much after the break as the heavy pitch began to take its toll on the players; both goalkeepers turning into peripheral figures as the match literally became bogged down in a turgid midfield battle.

Barring a moment of quality in a game where the conditions almost ensured none was possible, it looked increasingly like Mossley would be registering their third successive one-all draw in the league. Thankfully that one spark of excellence did arrive and, even more thankfully, the Lilywhites were the instigators and the beneficiaries of it.

In the 69th minute substitute Michael Fish released Settle down the right and his first time cross landed perfectly at the feet of the inrushing Moore. The forward was denied his second goal of the game by an excellent save from Harris but Matty Kay followed up to tap the rebound across the line and put Mossley in front once more.

If you want to see the goal, just click on the image on the left and you'll be able to watch it in glorious stutter-vision.

With the match nearing its end, driving wind and rain began to lash Dark Lane again and it was in this squally environment that the Stag's launched one last concerted effort to get something from the game. The Mossley defence though stood firm on a pitch that had long since lost those characteristics and they confined the home side to just one chance in injury time. Danny Ellis tried lobbing Peter Collinge from 35 yards but his admirable effort dropped a couple of feet wide of the goal.

It was a game that won't be remembered fondly - if at all, but it's one that puts a bit more distance between Mossley and the foot of the division as they head into a busy fortnight of cup fixtures.

At this point I'd normally add a bit more detail about the performance. In using words such as 'battling', 'spirited' and various other synonyms for 'gutsy' though I'd only be repeating what I've written in the past few reports. So to save you from re-reading the same stuff (and me from re-writing it) I'm just going to end the report here.

On second thought's I'll end it... here!

Mossley vs Brackley: In Motion

I know it's ten days since the match took place but circumstances have meant that it's only until now that I've had the chance to compile the footage I took on the night together.

I had hoped to do something a bit different from the usual kind of highlights video I put on the site; something that would help convey the drama and excitement of the night. After three attempts though I realised there's nothing I could do with my limited skills and resources that would ever do justice to the 120 minutes of football that was played.

Admittedly it doesn't help when you failed to capture one of the most important goals due to camera problems, but even if I had that the video would still fall a long way short of carrying across the gamut of emotions experienced by the supporters on that very evening. What it will hopefully do though is jog a few memories that will bring a smile back to your lips.

Anyway, enough of the waffling and time for the watching. So turn the sound up, sit back and prepare to be vaguely disappointed at what you're about to see:

To view a higher quality version, follow this link and click the HQ button.

Before I end this little update a big thank you to Smiffy of Six Tame Sides for allowing me to use some of his photos from the night to help fill in the blanks.

Mossley 1 - 1 Wakefield

If I had a shiny new pound for every time I heard somebody mentioned the phrase "after the Lord Mayor's show" during the course of this game, I'd have left Seel Park on a wet and miserable Saturday afternoon at least, oh... £14 better off.

To be fair to the players in white shirts the chances of this particular ninety minutes of football ever coming close to matching the roller coaster of excitement experienced in the midweek fixture against Brackley were always going to be remote. But that didn't stop there being a anti-climactic feeling hanging in the cold, damp air.

The match started brightly with both sides trading early chances. The visitors were the first to try their luck when Chris Howarth's run across the edge of the Mossley box resulted in a shot that curled just over Peter Collinge's goal. This was followed moments later at the opposite end of the pitch by a Wakefield defender scooping a free-kick from Sam Walker off the goal line.

After this action heavy opening the game quickly settled into a pattern: Mossley pressing hard for a goal while Wakefield looked to hit their hosts on the break. And in the 44th minute it was a game plan that bore fruit for one team. Sadly though that team wasn't the Lilywhites.

An overly ambitious pass brought a promising Mossley attack to a sudden end and Wakefield quickly countered. Exploiting gaps in the defence they eventually worked the ball to Jon Froggat who, despite the best efforts of Collinge, got just enough power on his shot to see it trickle over the line and put his side ahead.

It was a goal that came somewhat against the run of play too. While it wasn't a half littered with chances, what few there were after that end-to-end opening had all fallen to the home side; Walker saw another free-kick prevented from reaching its target by a finger tip save from Wakefield keeper Zolna, who also performed acrobatics to stop Steve Settle finding the net with a clever lob.

Their lead should have been a very short one though. Within seconds of the match restarting Settle had the opportunity to draw the home side level from close range but he skied his effort high over the cross bar.

Steve Settle in the midst of sending the ball high over the bar.

A rather sluggish start to the second half by Mossley allowed 'The Bears' to become the dominant side for the first time in the match and with it came numerous chances to sew the result up.

It was only after Wakefield spurned a glorious opportunity to double their lead though in the 67th minute - Howarth slicing the ball wide after a shot from Froggat had rebounded to him off the foot of the post - that Mossley stirred from their slumber and set about rescuing the game.

Zolna however was proving to be a troublesome thorn in the Lilywhites attempts at restoring equality to the score line but with seven minutes left he was finally beaten. A nudge in Steve Moore's back by Wes Milne sent the Mossley man tumbling to the ground in the box and the felled forward picked himself up to fire home the penalty he'd won.

Steve Moore is grounded by Milne for the penalty.

In the closing minutes of the game Moore had a goal correctly disallowed for offside and another effort that had Zolna scurrying across his line to stop, but the score remained unchanged as the final whistle brought proceedings to a close.

Both sides will probably have cause to argue it was two points lost rather than one won but taking the whole of the ninety minutes into account, the draw was possibly the fairest outcome.

What is it about home games with Wakefield? Is it compulsory that they all must be a shade dull and boring? Have we signed a contract in blood that forbids more than a modicum of entertainment and excitement taking place in Seel Park fixtures between the two sides? I only ask because for the third year running both sides produced a game that will not live long in the memory.

Admittedly this meeting made for a slightly more entertaining component to the unholy 'Wakefield' trinity but not by much.

As I said way back at the beginning of this post though, you can hardly fault Mossley for this. Considering what they've gone through in the past week (coupled with more bad weather and an even heavier playing surface) it's no surprise that they looked a touch jaded during this game. Heck, even the supporters still looked drained from the trials of the previous Tuesday night.

Goodness knows what Wakefield's excuse was however as apart from that 20 minute spell of pressure after the interval, and the goal just before it, they weren't exactly ripping up trees. Maybe they stopped up late on Friday watching fireworks?

Before I draw this posting to a close I think it's worth mentioning again the spirit Mossley have shown recently in not believing that a game is beyond saving. As previously mentioned in the aftermath of the Brackley game it's fantastic to finally see a Mossley team that doesn't know when its beaten; games last ninety minutes and we now have a side that plays for that long, plus whatever time is added on.

Anyway, there's a rare week off now which should hopefully give everyone chance to recharge their batteries ahead of a hectic, cup game filled end to the month and I don't know about you but I need it!

Mossley 3 - 1 Brackley Town

I'm going to start this report with an apology because what follows may prove to be disappointing.

Why? Because the simple fact of the matter is that I could spend from now until the day I finally breathe my last writing, re-writing and tweaking this report and still not come close to doing the game it's about any justice whatsoever.

The emotions experienced, the support, the team, the character and spirit shown and, not least of all, the game itself are all worthy of their own lengthy essays but in trying to combine the lot into one it's inevitable that I'm going miss something out or that it's going to become slightly rambling.

With this in mind, if you feel a noteworthy moment has been omitted please feel free to write about it in the comments section or, even better, add your thoughts on the match: the more the merrier in fact.

It was one of those the games, the kind like Lymington in '03 and Kendal in '05, that if you were there you're never going to forget. One where in a few years a time someone will say “Remember Brackley?” and you'll just nod and exchange smiles as the memories of what unfolded on the evening of the 3rd of November, 2009 coming hurtling back to the front of your thoughts.

I know it seems ridiculous to think of an FA Trophy 2nd qualifying round replay in such glowing terms but it's matches like this one that you live for as a football supporter; a game where you kick every ball with the players and experience every possible emotion as you barrel at full speed to one of two possible outcomes, hoping against hope that the ending you arrive at is the happy one.

In the run up to this game there was more than one or two supporters hoping for some inclement weather in the belief, misguided or not, that it would give Mossley some kind of advantage over their opponents and oh, did they get their wish. Torrential rain, strong winds, lightning, hail storms – and that was all in the the three hours prior to the match kicking off. By the time proceedings finally got under way only the rain remained, which while not great was preferable on its own than with the conditions that had accompanied it during late afternoon.

Added to the couple of days of near non-stop downpours we've had since the weekend, it's quite remarkable that this game actually took place at all. It certainly wouldn't have last season, or in many of the ones before that, but the work carried out on the pitch in the summer has certainly proved its worth.

So it was on a rain lashed Seel Park surface that Mossley came back from the brink of defeat for the second time in three days. Not only to take the game into extra-time but to set up a shock victory against their high flying, and reputedly high spending, visitors from the senior division of the Zamaretto League.

One goal down and with only seconds of regular time left on the clock, substitute Lee Blackshaw took advantage of the gap left by the right back who'd been shown his second yellow card moments earlier, to fire Steve Settle's low cross through a crowd of players and take what had been a thoroughly absorbing contest into extra time.

It was the very least Mossley merited too as it would be quite the understatement to say that Town's goal had led something of a charmed life over the course of the preceding eighty eight minutes. From the 7th minute onwards when Ben Richardson brought a smart save out of Richard Morris with a fierce long range drive, Mossley created a seemingly never ending series of openings but they could just not put the ball between the posts. Even when they had the opportunity to take the lead from the penalty spot before the interval, top scorer Matty Kay found the back of the stand rather than the back of the net.

But as is so often the case it was the team which had barely had an attack of note that took the lead. During a rare scene of panic in the Mossley penalty area the ball hit the raised arm of a defender and unlike the home side, Brackley made no mistake with the opportunity awarded to them from the spot. Ben Mackey firing his shot low and hard past Peter Collinge.

To the Lilywhites immense credit though they refused to let their heads drop and over the remaining twenty minutes of the initial ninety the pressure they exerted continued to grow and grow. A last throw of the dice by manager Chris Willcock saw Mossley playing with five forwards and centre half Graham Kay acting as a makeshift sixth yet still the ball refused to go where they wanted it to.

When Steve Moore hit the post with minutes left it looked like it was going to be what's commonly referred to as “one of those nights” for the Lilywhites; a match full of what ifs. But with only the vapours of normal time remaining Settle played that ball across the box and the home side got their just reward, sending the clusters of home supporters gathered on the terraces into a frenzy. And I'm not ashamed to admit that as I bounced around like a man possessed there was the semblance of a tear in my eye brought about by a mixture of happiness and relief.

With bodies rapidly tiring through a combination of the games pace and the heaviness of the pitch, the man advantage Mossley held through Jon Brady's dismissal quickly began to tell in extra-time.

The sending off itself was avoidable yet somehow inevitable too. Booked very early on in the game for some silly comments directed towards the referee, it was surprising that further sarcastic barbs aimed at the official didn't earn Brackley's player manager a second yellow card. What eventually did though was a needless and rash challenge on the edge of his own box which, fortunately, only succeeded in injuring himself and it took some lengthy treatment to get him in a fit enough state to walk from the from the pitch with a red card in his wake.

Shots rained in on the Saints goal from all angles and in the 103rd minute of the game, one finally reached its intended target. A scramble instigated by a cross from the left by Danny Egan ended with Nathan Neequaye hammering the ball past Town's substitute keeper from close range and for the first time in the two games Mossley were ahead.

There was time for a couple of 'heart in mouth' moments as Brackley threw men forward in search of their own late, late equaliser. In doing so they left themselves susceptible to the counter attack and with a minute of the tie remaining, Neequaye was the beneficiary of one such breakaway; his second, and Mossley's third, goal of the night lighting the blue touch paper on more scenes of excited celebration on the terraces.

Nathan Neequaye celebrates putting the game beyond Brackley's reach with Steve Settle

The win was no more than Mossley deserved and stands as a testament to the incredible spirit they showed in refusing to let their heads drop when they went behind and time appeared to be their greatest opponent.

And speaking as a fan I've got to say that a 'it's not over till the final whistle' attitude from the players makes it a whole lot easier to support them. Words of encouragement flow from the tongue much faster and easier when it looks like the players care as much as you do about the outcome.

It certainly puts those weeks and months of 'going through the motions' we've seen during some parts of this decade into a stark contrast. Motion being quite an apt synonym to describe quite a few of those periods.

Both sides though deserve an enormous amount of praise for producing such an entertaining game of football in the adverse conditions it was played under. It's Mossley though - and deservedly so on the evidence of this 120 minute encounter - who'll be making the late November trip Ilkeston Town in search of further Trophy success.

Like I said way back at the beginning, what's written above will never stand as a fitting tribute to the efforts that went into claiming that place in the next round of the competition. What I hope though is that what's there will spark a few happy memories and they'll fill in those wonderful missing details.

In the coming days, though it's more likely to be next week, I'll hopefully have some video on this very blog to assist you in reliving the experience once again. For reasons however too long, too technical and too boring to go into, I sadly don't have any footage of that late equaliser. I do have our winning goals though so there's still something to watch that has the ability to make the hairs on your neck stand to attention.

Brackley Town 1 - 1 Mossley

In my mini-ramble on the eve of this game I said that a replay would be nice and, lo and behold, that's precisely what came to pass.

According to a couple of the eyewitness accounts I've heard we didn't play particularly well in Northamptonshire but the result is all that matters. One shot, one goal and whether it was eight minutes into injury time or not, it was enough to force our opponents into having to make an unenviable Tuesday night journey: a 180 mile trip via the M6 and M60, at rush hour, to what's expected to be a wind and rain battered Seel Park. Oh are they in for a shock!

Anyway, if you want to know more about the game there's the official Mossley report to look at as well as a Macbeth themed Brackley report.

As well as keeping our Trophy adventure going for at least another ninety minutes, Steve Moore's late, late strike also guarantees that we'll have a midweek game too. The fixture originally scheduled to take place on Tuesday against Woodley Sports looked to be in some doubt after the Stockport side had this weekend's game against Warrington postponed due to swine flu laying waste to most of their squad.

At least that's the claim as, according to today's Non-League Paper, there's been no medical diagnosis that it is in fact the illness. So unless the league management receive around fifteen doctors notes containing the words 'swine flu' and not 'man cold', some of the points they've accumulated could do a Curzon and disappear.

Still, it must be a pleasant change for Woodley though to be suffering from H1N1 than the D1L1 virus they've had for most of this season.

So can we get past Brackley at the second attempt or have we just delayed being dumped out of the Trophy by three days? Why not come to the game and find out for yourself? Seriously, it's only Holby City on the television so you won't be missing anything good.