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.