Radcliffe Borough 0 - 1 Mossley

By rights this report should consist solely of me wittering on in an overly ebullient fashion about the latest instalment in Mossley's winning streak; filled as it was with some superb passages of football.

Unfortunately though it's not going to be because my powers of description have failed me. I'd love to be able to tell you about a three man move midway through the first half involving Nick Allen, Steve Moore and Chris McDonagh but I don't possess a vocabulary that could do it justice. And the same thing goes for a whole host of moments like these during the match, including a great spell of 'keep ball' around the Radcliffe box which wound down the clock in injury time.

Either that or I'm just feeling really lazy when it comes to writing reports these days. Whatever the reason is though one thing is a fact: a solitary goal from Matty Kay proved to be enough to earn Mossley their fourth consecutive victory in a fixture that wasn't as close as maybe the score line suggests.

Considering the Lilywhites recent tendency for clinching wins with virtually the last kick of the match, this particular game winning goal came at the relatively early time of the 18th minute. A long punt upfield by Peter Collinge was gifted to Kay by the head of one of Borough's centre halves and after taking one touch to control the ball, the Mossley midfielder unleashed a drive from 25 yards that flashed past Lloyd Rigby (no relation) in the home sides goal and into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

Even at this youthful stage of the game it was no more than the visitors deserved for the pressure they were putting their hosts under. The only thing that stops that period of pressure being labelled as constant was a moment in the 9th minute in which Ben Wharton, a former Mossley trialist, crashed a shot against the crossbar following a mazy run towards the edge of the visitors box.

After going a goal behind Radcliffe began to struggle to contain their opponents attacks and it was a task made all the harder just before the half hour when Ben Manning was shown a red card for an horrifically late two footed lunge on Ben Richardson. It was an atrocious challenge and one that could have easily cast an extremely dark and disturbing cloud over proceedings had the Mossley wing back not had the leg which was clattered into off the ground.

If that wasn't bad enough what followed really took the shine off the game as the behaviour of quite a few people from Radcliffe after that, for want of a better word, 'tackle' leaves a heck of a lot to be desired.

The number of people condoning the challenge - one in which a player was extremely fortunate not to have his leg snapped in two – was extraordinary. I wonder if a certain senior member of the Radcliffe bench would have walked down the touchline to berate the officials and offer to take on the opposition supporters if it had been his player almost put out of the game for a considerable length of time? I doubt it and I'm not mean spirited enough to wish. the situation on them in the hope of finding out. Some of us can act as human beings rather partisan idiots

There are tales doing the rounds too of an even more senior official at Borough behaving like a complete muppet in the aftermath of the incident. If they're true, and I've no reason to doubt the source of these claims, then the person in question should perhaps make good with his tiresome annual threats to pack in with football and do the game a favour.

Seriously, the attitude of some people in this sport beggars belief and it's fools like these: people who can scream abuse at someone for having the temerity not to stand still and have his leg broken, that make me wonder if the game is really worth bothering with.

Anyway, where was I?

In an attempt to press home their advantage and capitalise on the disorganisation in the Borough defence caused by the dismissal, Mossley mounted attack after attack in search of the goal or goals that would seal the win. Steven Moore brought an excellent save of Rigby with a stinging thirty yard shot and then saw another effort bounce off the upright. His strike partner Chris McDonagh went close to doubling the lead with an angled drive, as did Lee Blackshaw and Kay again, while Andy Russell's point blank header from a corner looped over the crossbar after hitting a motionless and somewhat stunned Rigby in the face.

Mossley continued to press forward after the interval with both Russell and Blackshaw again narrowly failing to add to the lead. The longer the game wore on though, the more the visitors became content to sit back and defend the advantage they held; the consequence of which being that Radcliffe began to enjoy a greater share of possession as they pushed forward in search of an equaliser.

I will admit that there were more than a few jitters amongst the travelling contingent in the closing moments of the match as the ball pinged around the edge of the Mossley box. Having a one goal lead with a few minutes will do that to any supporter. To be honest though, there's not a lead imaginable that Mossley fans would ever be comfortable with. Even at four or five goal goals up with seconds to play the average Lilywhites follower would at most expect a draw. Some call it pessimism, others call it negativity - the rest of us call it 'been there, done that'.

But looking back at those moments now in the (very) cold light of day you realise that the nerves and panicked cries of “clear it” were unnecessary because then men in white were really quite comfortable; the solidity of the Lilywhites back line meant that Borough's attempts to salvage the game were confined to nothing more than pot shots from a distance.

While the margin of victory may not accurately reflect Mossley's hold on the game, the three points gained from this latest success does move them a step closer to a top ten spot in the league – something which I doubt many, including the most ardent Lilywhites fans, would have thought possible given the position the club was in a little over a month ago.