Mossley 0 - 2 Curzon Ashton

In the grand scheme of things the NPL/Unibond/Evo-Stik President's Cup is the New Coke of non-league trophy competitions. It's a blight on the fixture list, taking up a valuable midweek slot that could host a league game and help alleviate the inevitable fixture pile-up come April. A contest played in barely filled grounds (even by this levels standards) in which victories are met with the same shrug of the shoulders that greet defeats.

The thing is though that when you've just crashed out of two cups in the space of five days its stature does grow a little; it suddenly doesn't look quite so meaningless. There's still no great wailing and gnashing of teeth at being beaten but there is a touch of despondency at seeing another faint hope of silverware disappear. The melancholy heightened further by it coming at the hands of your near neighbours - Curzon Ashton doing to Mossley in the President's Cup what they'd done in the Manchester Premier Cup the previous Tuesday.

It only took ten minutes for Curzon's opener to arrive and in news that probably won't come as a shock, it came with the help of a gaping hole that appeared in the middle of Mossley's back line. The 'parting of the waves' gave Daniel Shannon a clear run towards the net being guarded by debut making keeper Joe Potts (yes we've got another goalie, a game too late mind, but another goalie nonetheless) and to be fair to the newbie there was little he could do to prevent the visiting number 10 from pinging the ball past him.

The remaining 35 minutes of the half became a competition as to who could miss the easiest chance and for a long time it looked like Matty Kay would take the honours for Mossley with a volley over an open net from six yards. Unfortunately the Lilywhites couldn't even claim victory in this little contest as Curzon took the inaugural "How The Hell Did He Miss That?" title and runners-up spot just before the break through wild efforts from Shannon and Carlos Gazapo.

The second half saw Mossley finally force David Carnell into making a couple of saves, including one outstanding full length stop to deny Richard Bennet from putting the home side on level terms. Carnell's efforts ought to have only delayed the equaliser for a split-second though as the loose ball bounced into the path of Danny Murray, but with the goal no more than three yards in front of him the substitute hit the post.

The Lilywhites actually enjoyed plenty of possession over the course of the second period. However, the number of chances that came from it were a fraction of what they should have been because of all the, colloquially speaking, 'faffing around' they were doing; taking an extra touch or ten when there was a chance to deliver a ball into the box, passing instead of shooting... the kind of things that elicit low but audible groans from the terraces.

Curzon had a few chances to put the game to bed before they finally did so in the last minute. If I put my rose coloured spectacles on I could say that Shannon took advantage of Mossley pushing men forward to break clear and score his second goal of the game. It would be telling fibs though because a) we weren't really going all out for a goal in those closing stages and b) it's not as though he and his team mates weren't breaking clear when we were apparently putting an onus on defending.

As I intimated earlier getting knocked out of this competition isn't a cause for alarm. That it completes a rapid hat-trick of cup exits is slightly worrying though as it means we're one FA Trophy defeat away from bringing the curtain down on our season. I know that if we win our games in hand on the teams above in the league that we'll be there or thereabouts at the top of the division but I'm enough of a realist to know that that's a mighty big 'if'.

So keep your fingers crossed for good things in the Nantwich game on Saturday and lets hope we can keep the season alive for a short while longer.