Mossley 1 - 4 Curzon Ashton

If there's anybody who still believes Mossley have a chance of reaching the play-off's then they should phone the Guiness Book of Records immediately and get themselves certificated as the most optimistic person on the world because this is the result that effectively ends the Lilywhites late push for a top five finish.

A game too far in an overly crowded fixture schedule, a very off night that all teams have from time to time or simply outclassed by a better side - hatever the reason is you believe for Mossley's subdued performance in this match (the truth probably being a mix of all three), the result remains the same: a comprehensive and heavy defeat to local rivals Curzon Ashton.

The early stages of the second meeting between the two sides in ten days suggested that the Lilywhites would pick up the baton from where they left off at the Tameside Stadium. Within sixty seconds of the match kicking off Lee Blackshaw fired a shot narrowly over the cross bar after wriggling through a couple of challenges and they followed this up by exerting a tremendous amount of pressure which kept Curzon contained to the general vicinity of their own penalty area.

Sadly it couldn't last and by the time the game clock had ticked over into double figures the visitors were comfortably the team in the ascendency. Their sole game plan of hitting it as hard, as high and as far as they could up the pitch might have been awful to watch but it was brutally effective and through it they opened the scoring. Although it must be said not without a little help from Mossley.

An attack broke down with a sloppy pass and the ball was immediately sent skywards (so high I swear it came down with a coating of volcanic ash on it) and towards the far end corner of the pitch. Unfortunately for the defender attempting to shepherd the punt off a for a goal kick, he got his positioning wrong and allowed Ajay-Leitch Smith to take possession and play a square pass to Dean Canning - alone and unmarked in the the Lilywhites box - who made no mistake in firing a shot past Peter Collinge.

The failure to pick up players in a blue shirt when they entered they Mossley penalty area quickly became a feature of the night and if Curzon hadn't been so wasteful with their chances, the game would have been over bar the shouting long before the interval – Michael Norton especially being guilty of wasting a couple of 'harder to miss' chances. Instead they only managed one more before the half came to an end and it arrived courtesy of a penalty after another passage of play best forgotten by the Lilywhites finished with Smith being tripped in the box; Norton completing the punishment from the spot.

Ten minutes into second period Canning doubled his tally for the game. Taking advantage of being unmarked again - this time while being little more than a yard away from the line - he headed the ball home, finishing a move that began by Mossley surrendering possession far too cheaply in the middle of the park.

Rather than opening the floodgates, it spurred Mossley into their best spell of the game. Chris McDonagh almost connected with a knock down from Michael Fish, Nick Allan shot narrowly wide and Matty Kay had a very good claim for a penalty ignored by the match official. It was from the corner resulting from the latter incident though that Mossley did reduce the arrears with Andy Watson deflecting the ball over the line at the back post (although the video evidence of this particular event suggests it was Phil Edgehill who bundled the ball into his own net).

If Michael Fish hadn't had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside not long after, it's possible that Mossley may have gone on to rescue the game, such was the panic that was slowly beginning to spread through Curzon's back line as the pressure increased. The raised flag of the official however not only cancelled out the goal but signalled the end of Mossley's mini-revival too.

The Lilywhites saw little of the ball over the final twenty minutes of the match as Curzon slowly wound down the clock with a copious amount of time wasting; something not all that surprising given it was the latter stages of both sides sixth game within the space of a fortnight.

The visitors found a spring in their step though to add a fourth in the closing moments but again it was Mossley who were the architects, this time with a comedy of errors so ridiculous that if I described to you what happened you simply wouldn't believe it. All you need to know is that this calamitous series of events ended with Norton rolling the ball into an empty net from the edge of the area.

It's impossible to argue that playing a game almost every other day hasn't had an effect on the stamina and energy levels of the Lilywhites but it also has to be said that it's a schedule Curzon have had too. And though the Blues may have had an extra 24 hours to rest between this and their last game, the difference between the sides was more marked than that explanation could ever provide.

But as I kind of mentioned some way back up there at the beginning of this post, events conspire at times and the combination of tired limbs, a good team wanting to avenge a recent defeat and a poor performance from the other produce games and results such as this one. It happens and you move on to the next one.

The defeat means that the highest position Mossley can realistically hope of finishing in is seventh and considering where they were in the league at Christmas, that's some achievement in itself.