Mossley 5 - 2 Garforth Town

Having spent far too many years watching football I didn't think that there was anything left in the sport that could surprise me.

I've seen, and I'm sure you have too, astonishing comebacks, games thrown away when they were as good as won, fantastic goals, unforgettable howlers, results that defy logic and lots, lots more too numerous to detail here.

But in this match I was introduced to a genuinely new and pleasing experience: the sight of a Garforth team which was more interested in playing some very good football rather than seeing how many times they could whack the ball and their opponents up in the air.

Fixture involving Garforth have, for me anyway, always been ones that have been anticipated in the same way that someone on death row looks forward to the day after their last meal. Past meetings have included plenty of goals but there's always been an unsavoury edge too and as a consequence the football has come a distant second to... well, anti-football.

However, Simon Clifford's decision to hand over the managerial reigns while he concentrates on his business seems to have had a positive effect out on the pitch as the Yorkshire side are now playing something approaching the type of football that's been advertised on their website for years.

And what a pleasing thing it was to be able to watch too: excellent passing, superb off the ball movement - the sort of thing you really want to watch as a football fan. The best thing about it all though was that Mossley were just that little bit better than them at it.

Unlike the visitors Mossley had the cutting edge to compliment the quality of the build-up play and this was no more in evidence than over the course of an incredible first twelve minutes of the match. Not only did the Lilywhites take a 3rd minute lead through Mike Fish, they added a second and a third in quick succession thanks to Ben Richardson and Fish again.

Ben Richardson slots home the second goal of the night.

The incredibleness would have probably gone off the scale (that's if there was such a thing as an incredibleness scale) if Garforth had converted the golden opportunities that they were presented with in that initial 720 seconds as only a bad miss, a good save and goal line clearance stopped the score from being three apiece while the pies were still lukewarm.

The pace of the game didn't let up either after that initial spell of action as both sides launched attack after attack and chances came and went with all the regularity of a made up story in the Daily Express or Star.

Its been said many times before that there's no such thing as a comfy lead when Mossley are the team in front and this game was a prime example of why that's the case. With half-time approaching Mossley's lead went from three goals to just one as Garforth scored twice within a matter of minutes through Adam Clayton and Tom Greaves. And it must be said they were some top quality goals too that even the Mossley supporters had to acknowledge that with a gentle round of applause (as well as a touch of sarcasm just to balance things out).

They weren't to be the final say in a fantastic first-half though as Fish completed his hat-trick with a well taken goal that left the keeper stood stock still and allowed most of the supporters to begin breathing a little easier again.

Whenever there's a first half jam packed goals, it's often the case that the second period is a forty five minute boreathon. Thankfully though there are exceptions that disprove the rule and this was on of the few.

It retained the excitement the opening period had but both sides seemed to twig that defending a bit better might help their cause and though it remained end-to-end the gilt-edged chances were fewer. That said there was still plenty of them for both sides to have scored from and that they didn't was down to last-ditch blocks, good saves and hands-to-head misses - there should even have been a penalty or two too.

But there was one more goal to add to the six already scored and it went the home sides way. A good bit of close control from Andy Watson was complimented by an inch perfect through ball to Nathan Neequaye who with only the keeper to beat, unselfishly played a square pass to Matty Kay and Mossley's leading scorer added to his total for the season.

As someone said on the evening, the match was almost like a pre-season friendly. It was a game with nothing riding on it other than pride and with no pressure on them, two evenly matched sides just went for the win and it was great to watch.

To be honest, in much the same way the score line three days earlier at Skelmersdale was apparently unfair on Mossley (as I've been told by those who went) this one was harsh on Garforth. If it had finished a draw I don't think anyone could have complained about the result.

But Mossley did win and did so by blooding some of the younger players (John McIlwaine, Connor Hampson and Alex Byrne) and playing with a goalkeeper upfront for the final four minutes. Not a bad night if you can do that, win well and tighten your grip on a potential seventh place finish in the league.

Now to do the same again on Thursday and gain some quick revenge on Skelmersdale for the defeat at the weekend. Actually, recent defeat or not, beating Skem and applying a pin to their ever over inflated bubble of self-importance is always something to savour.