Mossley 4 - 2 Clitheroe

When your interest in the game of football is waning it takes something special to stoke the dying embers of the passion you once had. And this match provided a spark that lit that fire, if only briefly, once more.

Then again there's nothing like a match against an old enemy to get the blood pumping.

Ever since Mossley and Clitheroe faced one another for the first time in the North West Counties League in 1995, meetings between the two sides have always been, to use a hoary old football cliché, 'full-blooded affairs' and ones not generally lacking in incident and this latest encounter proved to be no exception.

Even though the latest spell of bad weather had visibly taken its toll on the pitch, the game got off to a blistering start as both teams traded a succession of chances in the opening ten minutes. Ex-Clitheroe keeper Peter Collinge was called into action twice to deny Alan Coar from putting the visitors in front while at the other end of the pitch it took a last ditch tackle from Liam McManus to stop Chris McDonagh from giving Mossley an early lead.

Steve Settle was the next player to try to break the deadlock and he came agonisingly close to doing so after the current Clitheroe keeper, Danny Hanford, fumbled his first attempt to save the wingers long range effort before finally stopping it on the line with his second. Hanford's shakiness at high balls into the box was highlighted again when he missed a catch at a corner kick and was rescued by a defender hacking the ball away to safety from underneath the cross bar.

Why am I mentioning a missed catch and a fumbled one - something that happens relatively often in a game of football? Well in drama this is what they call foreshadowing.

Just before the half hour Zach Clark spurned a gilt edged chance to put his name on the score sheet by dallying too long with the ball while the goal was at his mercy, giving Collinge time to get in position to make a good save when the shot finally was taken. The ball did actually hit the back of the net twice in the first half but on both occasions the raised flag of the assistant referee ruled Steve Moore's efforts to edge the Lilywhites ahead to be offside; the first decision, it must be said, being slightly more dubious than the second.

To be truthful they were just two decisions in a string of many that were... well, as this isn't the official report and what's said here in no way represents the views of Mossley AFC, just plain old wrong. This isn't a 'hard done to us' moan as Clitheroe can quite rightly have grievances about some of the decisions. I'm no longer one for verbally making my feelings known towards officials at games but even I couldn't bite my tongue at some conclusions the men in black came to. I doubt anyone could when they see a linesman inexplicably flag for offside when a goalkeeper, with only team mates round him, almost spills a shot from 25 yards into his own net.

Officials have a tough enough job to do as it is without them making it harder for themselves by getting the crowd on their backs with unfathomable interpretations of events.


After all that had happened it was a surprise that the interval arrived with the game still 0-0 but that soon changed as within five minutes of the restart Clitheroe had raced into a two goal lead. The first came after Nathan Taylor beat Mossley's offside trap to race on to a through ball but the second was a stunning strike – a turn and volley from 25 yards which left Collinge completely wrong-footed. McManus should have sealed the win the visitors not long after Taylor's double but his failure to find the net from the two yards out (somehow blazing the ball high over the bar) seemed to shake Mossley out of their post-interval stupor and they began to claw their way back into the game.

Shortly after the hour mark in the match Andy Watson headed a right wing corner into the path of Andy Russell who poked the ball over the line from close range. Five minutes of constant pressure later the comeback was completed. Substitute Lee Blackshaw effortlessly slipped his marker and played an inch perfect ball across the face of the goal which gave McDonagh the simplest of tap-ins to draw Mossley level.

The game then swung from end to end as both teams went in search of a winner. Konstantin Televinov and Clark, for the second time in the afternoon, fluffed great opportunities that would have given Clitheroe victory more while Nathan Neequaye and Matty Kay went close for the hosts. As the match passed its 90th minute it looked as though both sides would have to settle for a point but there was to be one late twist.

Almost a year to the day after scoring an injury time winner in the corresponding fixture last season, Lee Blackshaw repeated the feat by stroking the loose ball into an empty net after Hanford had once again failed miserably to deal with a straight forward cross. See! All that that stuff many paragraphs ago about missed catches and the like was pertinent.

The visitors piled men forward in an attempt to salvage an equaliser but in leaving gaps at the back they were caught on the break and Matty Kay cemented the win for the Lilywhites with his 20th goal of the campaign. Salt was then almost rubbed into Clitheroe's wounds when Moore nearly added a fifth with the final kick of the match.

Flattering or not, it's a victory which sees Mossley climb another place in the table and Clitheroe head back to central Lancashire from Seel Park for the second year running in a state of shock at the late, late turn of events. Both of which bring about an enormous warm glow inside of me.

Both sides deserve an enormous amount of credit for trying and successfully managing to play passing football on a surface that was more suited to potato picking than the finer arts of the beautiful game. But then the state of the pitch cannot be helped given the pounding it has received off the weather over the past three months and it certainly wasn't the reason for why the result of this match ended up the way it did.

Why it finished 4-2 is down to Mossley's refusal to roll over and lick their wounds when it looked like defeat was inevitable. Not for the first time this season - in fact I really should count just how many times its happened since August – the teams spirit in plugging away for the entire ninety minutes (plus that little bit extra) was handsomely rewarded.

Not only is it hard to pick out the star performer in a white shirt difficult, it would be grossly unfair too as this was a team effort in which all the players executed their roles to such a high standard that no-one stood out. And how often can you say that about any team, let alone Mossley?

Monkeys, Dust And Football

The postponement of the midweek fixture against Curzon (apparently the eleventh time a Mossley match has been shelved this season according to someone who's keeping a better eye on these things than me) means that instead of bringing you what would have been a humdrum report on another defeat to our near neighbours (not pessimism - realism), I can update the blog with something else.

And when I say I've not been involved in any with its production, that's a guarantee that the 'something else' is going to be more entertaining than anything I could have come up with to fill the midweek void.

The else in question is a clip from Monkey Dust, an animated sketch show that aired on BBC2 in which a lot of the humour was not so much dark but absolutely pitch black; dealing as it did with topics rarely touched on in comedy such as suicide, terrorism and other subjects that get Daily Mail readers in a tizzy. For example, 'Geoff the first time cottager'. Of course, if you're easily offended don't click that link.

Anyway, back to the point of this post and as if to prove that nothing much has changed in football over the seven or so years since it was first aired, here is Monkey Dust's version of Roy of the Rovers. Again, if you're easily outraged by humour of a rude nature or by badly drawn representations of a certain Chelsea captain, don't - whatever you do - press play:

FC Halifax Town 4 - 2 Mossley

Not for the first time - and I very much doubt it will be the last - it appears that I spoke to soon.

For those of you who don't remember, or wisely chose not to read it at all, I ended the report for the Warrington Town game with the following words:

"At the very least the result and performance puts Mossley in good stead for the series of upcoming games against teams making a serious challenge for a promotion spot. And on the form they showed in this match the results of those fixtures may not quite be the foregone conclusions they initially appeared."

Goes to show what I know doesn't it?

Even taking into account the fact we had a strangely depleted squad which left us with just three substitutes (a centre half, a goalkeeper and a player who left the club before the season started), the word from those who went to the game is that we weren't good at all. Apparently we were sort of okay-ish in the second half but the performance before the interval was reputedly... well, my refusal to swear on this blog prevents me from relaying a couple of comments I've heard in relation to this period of football.

Yet despite our reportedly sub-sub par performance we still managed notch up another two goals; something we haven't done a lot of in the league this season and more than any other club has done at Halifax this year.

If you wish to read a more in-depth review of this match then I point you in the direction of Mossleyweb for the Mossley version of events or the official Halifax site for the view of the opposition. Actually why not read both? It is a Sunday after all.

Next up for the Lilywhites is the second part of the 'top five' double header: a meeting with Curzon Ashton at our Hurst Cross holiday home. Results against our near and not so dear neighbours haven't exactly gone our way too often in recent years so the omens for this coming Tuesday don't look good. Not even to the point where I'm going to claim that there's a faint hope we could snatch a point.

Instead, given how hopelessly incorrect my predictions always are I'm going to say with all confidence that we'll lose. So either I'll be right and appear to have great foresight or wrong and happily so for once. It's a win-win situation! For me at least if not the team.

Mossley 5 - 0 Warrington Town

The saying goes that good things come to those who wait, and after waiting two months for a win in all competitions, Mossley's patience was rewarded with a narrow victory over Warrington Town.

I know what you're thinking, how on earth can a five goal rout be classed as a narrow victory? Well, considering what the end result could have been had Mossley put a fraction of the other chances they created into the back of the net, the final score line makes the game seem closer than it was because 5-0 flatters the visitors. A lot.

After three successive draws in the league since the turn of the year, this was the Lilywhites first victory of 2010 and it was claimed in some style as they out fought, out thought and comprehensively outplayed a side who before the game sat two places outside a play-off spot.

Straight from the kick-off (which was delayed for nearly fifteen minutes as someone hunted around for corner flags) Mossley took the game to their opponents and such was their dominance it was something of a shock that it took until the ninth minute for the first goal to arrive; Steve Settle and Andy Russell played in Michael Fish and his bobbling, slightly mis-hit shot teed up strike partner Chris McDonagh to roll the ball over the line from very close range.

Over the remainder of the half the Lilywhites continued to create more and more chances but as they did so the more the Town goal began to lead a charmed life; none more so than when Town keeper Ritchie Mottram's attempt to dribble his way out of danger ended with McDonagh putting the ball narrowly wide from almost forty yards out. And when Settle, who'd had a shot cleared off the line as early as the 2nd minute, saw an effort ruled out for offside it looked increasingly like it was going to be one of those nights where it was to be hoped that one goal would be enough to claim the win.

The precarious nature of Mossley's lead was highlighted six minutes before the break when Tony Evans wasted a golden opportunity for the visitors by blazing a shot high over the top of Peter Collinge's crossbar when it looked far easier to score. Amazingly he wasted an even more gilt edged chance moments later when a collision between Collinge and Settle left him with the ball at his feet in front of an open goal. To the relief of the home side though he delayed his shot long enough to give Graham Kay the chance to stop the ball on the goal line.

Andy Watson completed the clearance as Evans steeled himself for another strike of the ball and it was from this long kick down field that Mossley got the second goal their performance merited. Fish won the race for the loose ball and after carrying it to the edge of the Town box he stroked it low past Mottram and into the net.

The second goal appeared to knock whatever resistance Warrington had left out of them and the only question that remained to be answered as the teams retook to the pitch after half-time was not if Mossley would win, but by how many.

Ten minutes into the second period the Lilywhites began the process of giving the score line a more emphatic look when Nick Allen and Settle combined to set up Matty Kay for his 18th goal of the season. His 19th arrived on the hour mark with a shot from inside the six yard box following a goalmouth scramble which had seen the ball ricochet pinball-like around the penalty area after Kay (the Graham version) and Fish had both had net bound efforts blocked.

The fifth and final goal of the night came once again via the boot of Fish as last season's leading scorer applied a one-touch finish to substitute Lee Blackshaw's inch perfect cross from the right.

It's actually hard to put a finger on the dynamics of this game: were we that good or were Warrington that bad? The evidence for the first statement being true is that Mossley ceratinly did play well - extremely well in fact. Gone was the tired, long ball approach that made the pre-Christmas games a chore to watch and its place was the fast, passing game which was the cornerstone of that fourteen game unbeaten run earlier in the season. Watching the hapless Town side get torn to shreds every time the Lilywhites went on the attack was a sight to behold.

And in the term 'hapless' you have the basis of the argument for Warrington being bad. Despite having a couple of chances to draw level in the closing stages of the first half, mostly it must be said through mistakes of Mossley's own making, they were dire. But yet they sit just outside the play-offs so they must be a decent side, mustn't they? Surely no team can reach such dizzy heights by just being lucky.

The actual truth as always probably lies somewhere in between; Warrington were simply unlucky enough to catch a Mossley side firing on all cylinders and as we know from the past, when they hit that kind of form they are nearly unplayable.

The result also means that the Lilywhites have taken four points from a possible six at their temporary night time residence at Hurst Cross. And in doing so they've scored eight times which, fact fans, accounts for almost a quarter of the goals they've scored in the league so far this season. May be playing home league games at the lower altitude is conducive to sticking the ball in the net a bit more often than usual.

At the very least the result and performance puts Mossley in good stead for the series of upcoming games against teams making a serious challenge for a promotion spot. And on the form they showed in this match the results of those fixtures may not quite be the foregone conclusions they initially appeared. But this is Mossley and as we've found out on so many occasions, anything could and probably will happen.

Prescot Cables 0 - 0 Mossley

Who'd have thought that after last Saturday's 'oh so scintillating' meeting between the two teams that the return fixture at Prescot's Valerie Park ground would finish goalless. Quelle the surprise.

Judging by various comments lying around the more obscure corners of the internet though, this was apparently a better game than the one which had taken place a week earlier. Not that it would have taken much to happen for it to be an improvement on last weeks lame offering to the paying public.

The fact that I'm trawling the web for critiques of this particular encounter should be a big clue as to the fact that I was a non-attendee and, as a consequence, won't be able to provide you with a fair and balanced view of proceedings. If it's such things you require then I heartily recommend visiting the official Mossley site for a summary of what did and didn't occur.

I can't even provide you with a brief run down of another game to fill the void in this report as I had a completely football free Saturday and (if you'll pardon my northernness) by gum it was good. If it wasn't for the fact that I'd miss the banter with the people I've stood along side on the terraces for goodness knows how many years, I'd really have no trouble making my alternate Saturday arrangements my first choice ones.

Anyway, next up for Mossley is a trip to our temporary night time home at Hurst Cross for the visit of Warrington. I don't wish to pre-judge things, and I'm sure Warrington are just as thrilled at the prospect at meeting us as we them, but I can't say I'm holding out much hope for excitement in this one.

Light Through Yonder Window Breaks

In the event that this is the only place on the world wide web you visit for news about Mossley AFC*, the following update was placed on the forum some time this morning:


We are pleased to announce that following all the hard work of the committee and volunteers, we have raised over £4,500.

For this we must give our grateful thanks to all the residents and supporters in and around Mossley.

The good news today is that we have now confirmed an offer from GT GRAFIX a local business in Dukinfield, to cover the shortfall in the 50% we needed to raise for the new floodlights.

Gary Threlkeld the owner of GT Grafix is a Mossley resident and wants to work with us to ensure the future of the football club.

Following two months without playing at home our financial situation is still difficult.

There are various fund raising events that have been planned through to April and hope that with the continued support of everyone, will enable us to look forward to a strong and successful future for Mossley Football Club.

The Directors & Committee of Mossley Football Club.

What else can you say or add to that other than a thank you to Mr Threlkeld for his generosity. And at times like this it would be remiss of me not to provide a link to company's website so... GT Grafix

Of course there is still the small matter now of getting the funding Tameside Council pledged for the other 50% - I'm sure, and quite rightly too, that there are plenty of committee meetings, i-dottings and t-crossings to go through before that money becomes available - but the future, and night matches at Seel Park, does look a little brighter.

*If so, you do know there are better places for that kind of thing don't you? Even so, thanks for popping by.

Woodley Sports 3 - 0 Colwyn Bay

As my fingers and all that they're attached to are still frozen from attending the match noted in the title to this post, I'm going to keep this brief.

Like Mossley's game at the weekend against Prescot this was an encounter not overflowing with goalmouth incident. And other than that one of the sides took to the pitch in an all white kit, that's where the comparisons between the two fixtures must end because whereas the aforementioned game was as dull as foam bladed steak knife, this one was genuinely entertaining.

It was fast, relatively furious and both sides were trying their best to play some attractive football. In this respect Colwyn Bay were the better team - stringing together some really impressive attacking moves. Sadly for the Welshmen though they had no cutting edge whatsover and coupled with a back line that can't really be described as a defence because that implies they offered some kind of resistance, it wasn't a recipe for success.

After having a goal ruled out for offside on their first attack in the match, the home side put themselves in front on their second. Almost immediately you could see the heads of some Bay players go down and it took until midway through the second half for them to pick up again - not the kind of thing you expect from a side chasing promotion.

This coincided with a brief rally during which a shot was hacked of the Woodley goal line but the pressure never built into anything more substantial. Instead it was left to the Stockport side to look the side most likely score, which they duly did in the 86th minute as they took advantage of more nonsense defending. They added a third too in injury time after I'd left but it's probably safe to assume that more slip-shod defending played its part in the goal.

On paper it looks a surprise result but in reality it wasn't and for a team with title ambitions Colwyn Bay have got a lot of bucking up to do if they want to achieve those aspirations this year. With this result and the recent victory over Lancaster City, Woodley on the other hand look to be hitting a bit of form that will take them away from the foot of the table which isn't really good news for Mossley. But then is there ever such a thing as good news for Mossley?

Right! I'm off to try defrosting again.

Mossley 1 - 1 Prescot Cables

If, like me, your interest in football is beginning to wane, the last thing you need to reinforce those thoughts of doing something more fun and productive on a Saturday afternoon is a game that could bore a lump of concrete to tears.

And during the quiet moments in this match, of which there were many, I could swear I heard the terraces weeping in anguish. Either that or it was the whimpering of those supporters looking at their watches every thirty seconds and bemoaning that time wasn't going quick enough.

Eagle eyed readers will probably notice that there isn't much difference between this report and the 'official' one I do and there's a very good reason for that.

As I sat down to relive and write about the days stupefyingly dull events I thought “How on earth do you make a bad match interesting?” The answer was a while in coming but when it did it was so obvious and simple I kicked myself for not coming to the conclusion sooner.

The fact is you can't so I'm not even going to try. On the plus side for you though dear viewer it does mean that you can make it to the final full stop without encountering a really bad joke that will make your toe nails curl in horror and embarrassment. Silver linings, etc.

So, after all those weather and floodlight enforced postponements, there was no glorious homecoming for Mossley as their first match at Seel Park for almost two months turned out to be the proverbial damp squib. And while they didn't lose, there was little to thrill the fans of either side on an afternoon in which the entertainment on offer can best be described as meagre.

The game actually started quite promisingly but following a frantic opening few minutes during which Dale Wright fired inches over the bar for the visitors, it rapidly descended into a succession of misplaced passes and petty fouls which constantly derailed any chance either side had of gaining some momentum.

Mossley's best opportunity of the half, purely because it was their only one, came midway through the opening period when Graham Kay lost his marker to divert a corner towards goal but it proved to be a comfortable save for Cables keeper Andy Paxton.

The home side should have been behind six minutes later when Aaron Rey broke free of the Lilywhites defence and skilfully took the ball around keeper Peter Collinge to leave himself with an empty net to roll the ball into. Unfortunately for Prescot but rather happily for Mossley, the forward chose to lash at his shot and in doing so (much to the utter disbelief of those still awake and watching on-field events) sent the ball flying high over the open goal.

In terms of incident that was it for the first half and it didn't get any better in the second until with twenty minutes to go the game briefly sparked into a modicum of life again; Wright looped a mis-hit shot onto the Mossley crossbar and both sides were fortunate not to be reduced in numbers as tempers momentarily flared.

The result though was to be ultimately decided by a mistake from both goalkeepers. In the 80th minute Collinge let a corner kick pass through his hands and ex-Mossley defender Tom Spearritt punished the error by firing the visitors into the lead with a low shot at the back post. The goal was the cue for some over exuberant scenes of celebration by the Cables goalkeeper in front of the Mossley fans but little did he know that karma would take only two minutes to come into effect.

That was the length of time that passed between the goal being scored and the point in the game where Paxton came to collect a cross, spilled his catch and, in the effort to redeem his error, scythed Andy Russell to the ground with an incredibly wild challenge from behind. The referee had little option other than to award a penalty and Paxton was rather more sheepish than he had been moments earlier as his team mates gave him an expletive laden critique of his actions.

Actually the referee did have another option available to him: a free-kick, because that's what it should have been as the foul took place just outside the area. But “Shhh!” - don't tell anyone.

In most other games Matty Kay's successful spot kick would probably have set-up a barnstorming finish. Sadly though this wasn't like most other games and the remainder of the match petered out in to the insipid midfield battle it had been for most of its running time. The final whistle was greeted with an audible sigh of relief from the terraces and both sides will happy with a point from a game that neither could claim to have had the upper hand in.

The two teams meet each other again very soon in the return fixture at Prescot's Valerie Park ground and happily for those who'll be going to watch it, the chances of it being worse than this game must be astronomically remote.

Still, if you are going it may be wise take a book or a sleeping bag with you just in case history repeats itself.

Mossley 3 - 3 FC Halifax Town

A mere seven weeks after their last Unibond First Division North game against Salford City, Mossley returned to league action with a draw against FC Halifax Town in what was reputedly a humdinger of a game: six goals, an injury time equaliser for the Lilywhites and plenty of controversy.

It would certainly make for an interesting match report but, as observant readers will have already noticed, the use of the word 'reputedly' in that opening paragraph can only mean one thing - that I never saw the match.

I could give you a lengthy reason as to why I was sat at home while Mossley fought for a point on the other side of Luzley, but as I'm trying to cut down on the size of these posts I'm not going to. So instead I'll just leave you to draw your own conclusions as to why I gave the game a miss. They'll probably be more interesting than the truth anyway.

The consequence of my non-attendance, well one of them at least, is that you're not going to find a report of the game on here. If you do wish to know though what happened then I can direct you to Mossleyweb where you'll find both words and pictures on Tuesday evenings events.

What I will comment on though is the laughable reaction of some Halifax supporters on their own forum. Within minutes of the match finishing the were people who hadn't been to the game complaining about being cheated out of three points by a dodgy referee.

I'm in no position at all to argue about the performance of the referee, as unlike those Town fans, I don't feel qualified to critique something I haven't seen. However, whether there was bad officiating or not, Halifax can hardly complain about Mossley receiving a favourable decision after what happened in the league fixture at their place last season.

To jog your memory... until they added a second deep into injury time, all that separated the two teams was a first half penalty which was awarded after a Halifax player tripped over the ball doing step overs, a good two to three yards outside the box. As you can imagine there were few complaints about the quality of the man in the middle that night from the other side of the Pennines.

But it's football. Sometimes decisions go for you, other times they go against. There's no conspiracy and just because you think something wasn't a foul doesn't mean you're right. Believe it or not, referees actually know the rules better than supporters do.

Anyway, next up for the Lilywhites is the floodlight free early kick-off on Saturday against Prescot Cables, a team managed by the ex-Mossley player with the 'roll off the tongue' name, Joe Gibiliru.

What you're no doubt wondering though is if there'll be a report on that game on here. At the moment I've no idea and on that cliffhanger...


If you’ve arrived here looking for a report on Mossley’s trip to Radcliffe Borough then I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed. And if you go searching elsewhere for one I’m afraid you’re going to be equally frustrated in your quest.

The reason why is that for the (one, two, three... no, it’s no use - I’ve lost count), er... umpteenth time in the past two months the cold weather has forced the postponement of yet another Lilywhites fixture; a frozen pitch adding a bit of variety to the numerous water loggings and snows on the increasingly long ‘postponed due to’ list.

To be honest though, if the game had gone ahead there still wouldn’t have been a match report on here for your perusal as I was going to be a non-attendee for this fixture. In fact I only discovered the game had been postponed at 11:00pm on Saturday evening when I belatedly decided to check on the day’s scores. Yes, I was that interested in the football this weekend. Actually I’ve been that interested in the football for quite a while now but that’s the subject for a possible blog posting sometime in the future.

Anyway, Mossley’s next attempt to start chipping away at the 24 league games they’ve got to play over the next twelve weeks takes place on Tuesday when they face FC Halifax Town. And in case you’ve forgotten or didn’t know (or maybe you just don’t care one way or the other) this match is being played at Ashton United’s ground. We don’t want you turning up at the wrong place! Although if the weather carries on as it is you’ll probably see the same amount of football being played whether you turn up at Seel Park or Hurst Cross.