Woodley Sports 2 - 1 Mossley

It may be only two weeks since Mossley were on the crest of a fourteen game winning run but it felt like another lifetime ago as the Lilywhites crashed to a thoroughly deserved defeat at the Lambeth Grove home of Woodley Sports.

No, your eyes do not deceive you; I did say that this defeat to a team third bottom of the league, and with only previous victory this season, was deserved. It would be nice to be able to bend the truth a little and claim that we were somehow unlucky, the victims of a miscarriage of football justice but we weren't. We were just downright Bad. That's right, bad with capital b.

Apart from a moment in the second half when Topsy made a late bid for the Christmas number one spot with a self-composed ditty about skateboards, there was little to warm the travelling supporters on a bitterly cold and wet night in Stockport. In fact it's hard not to feel every chilling bite of an icy wind when the side you've travelled the best part of ooh, a quarter of an hour to watch are outplayed, out thought and out fought by their opponents from virtually the sound of the first whistle to the last. And believe me, I wish I was exaggerating with that particular point.

It was only the reflexes of goalkeeper Peter Collinge that stopped Mossley from being a goal down within the first five minutes of the match after Antoni Sarcevic (who was booked 10 seconds into the match) effortlessly sliced open the barrier of white shirts in front of him. The ease with which he bore down on the visitors goal should have served as a warning for the Lilywhites but it went ignored and they were punished for it in the 21st minute. Picking the ball up on the halfway line, Sarcevic moved unchallenged to the edge of the Mossley box and a short pass into the path of Kris Dennis gave his team mate the opportunity to the find the net with a low shot.

That Mossley were still only a single goal behind by the half hour point of the match was a touch surprising but not quite as surprising as the goal which enabled them to go into the break on level terms with their hosts. Before Steve Moore netted the equaliser from the penalty spot – Woodley's punishment for a clumsy and unnecessary challenge by Matt Cotton on Mike Fish – the Lilywhites had shown absolutely no threat as an attacking force at all. Again I have to point out that I'm not embroidering the truth for effect here, the penalty was our first anything of note.

Unfortunately the goal didn't lay any foundations for better showing after the interval. Woodley continued to look the better of the two sides and Collinge was again called upon a couple of times to keep them at bay. In the 73rd minute however he was beaten for the second time in the match. And to make matters worse it came directly from a rare Mossley attack.

A disastrous (although the word laughable would suffice to) corner routine allowed the home side to quickly counter but their surge forward looked to have come to nothing as the Mossley defence broke up the attack. The sighs of relief from the visiting fans on the terraces were caught mid-exhale though as a sloppy pass handed the ball straight back to Woodley and from the halfway line, Gary Gee lobbed the ball over a furiously back-pedalling Collinge and into the net. The sound of celebrations from Woodley deafened by a mixture of two four letter expletives that were tripping loudly off a sizeable proportion of the Mossley supporters tongues.

There was still time to mount a comeback though but in response the visitors could only manage to muster a couple of half chances before the end of the game. Substitute Nathan Neequaye hit the side netting and an effort from distance by Matty Kay was spilt by Ben Connett but the home sides claim on the three points was never really challenged.

The final whistle was the cue for some cup winning-esque scenes as Woodley celebrated their rare and undeniably merited victory (I didn't stop long enough to see if they went on a lap of honour). Mossley on the other hand slinked quietly off the pitch (tut-tut if you're thinking well that's what they did on it too), ruminating on a performance that was far, far below the standard they've shown recently. At least I hope they were as it was one of the two things I exited the ground wondering. The other thing being whether or not I'd ever get the feeling back in my fingers in time to write this report and you know what? I wish they hadn't and I'd put money on the fact that you're thinking the same too!

I've thought long and hard to come up with a list of positives from the night yet after all the deliberating, cogitating and digesting I've done, there still only remains one item on it: the match came to an end. And we were made to wait longer than expected for that as the referee bolted an additional and inexplicable five minutes of injury time onto the end of the game. As if we weren't suffering enough already!

The list of negatives though runs to many pages of a Microsoft Word document. You'll be be happy to know that I'm not going to cut and paste them into here but just to give you a taster of what was on the roll call of downers: the incessant use of the long ball, despite the touchline imploring of the manager not to do it, to two forwards who aren't suited for it; two forwards so similar that they were making the same runs into the same space, the result of which was that we were effectively playing with on man upfront; Steve Settle, one of the best players of the last two months when playing in attack, being forced to spend another night as a peripheral figure in the wing back position while the player who excelled in that role, Ben Richardson, spends another match on the bench as an unused substitute...

I could go on – trust me, I really could – but if you were there you know how bad it was and what was wrong. If you weren't, sorry! But the memories are still too painful to relive again this early, if ever. In fact why am I sorry? You were the lucky ones.

Hopefully the Mossley side that up till two weeks ago went fourteen matches unbeaten will make a return for their next game at Bamber Bridge. If it doesn't then we can only expect more of the same, just with a longer, more miserable trip home.