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!