Mossley 4 - 0 Ossett Albion

If you're a regular visitor to this blog it can't have failed your notice that updates have been somewhat tardy over the past few weeks. That reports on games are being posted at least a week past a point where all right minded people have given up caring.

There is a reason. Well there's a big one and a small one. The small one is that the new Call of Duty game has eaten up a proportion of my free time as I try to get past the point of being utterly rubbish at it on-line (progress update since this paragraph was first written: still utterly rubbish). The big one is that I simply couldn't be bothered. I know I've said numerous times in the past few months that I'm becoming fatigued with football but that feeling just continues to grow and grow. Why it does I may elucidate on at a later time when I'm in the mood for the argument it may possibly cause.

In the meantime though I should really get this report done, especially as in a break from the recent norm, it's on about a match that Mossley won. The scoreline suggests it was a comfortable victory and effectively it was with the Lilywhites almost dominating the game from start to finish. But it's that 'almost' bit which, no matter how well the home side played for the majority of the match, could have seen the three points slip from their grasp.

Mossley opened the scoring with their first shot on goal in fifth minute - Callum Bryne getting his temporary spell at the club off to quite the start with quite some strike - and 75 minutes and approximately 483 efforts on goal later they added a second when Mike Oates got on the end of a huge upfield punt and turned the ball past the Ossett keeper. The third followed not long after when Lee Blackshaw curled a low free kick into the bottom corner of the net and contrary to what you may have seen elsewhere, the Lilywhites final goal of the night came courtesy of Ossett's very own Ryan White. How Oates has been credited with it is a mystery I'm sure Arthur C. Clarke would have eventually got round to investigating had his TV show not finished 30 years ago and he not died in 2008.

Another mystery is why I bothered to detail the goals when you can see them for yourself - just about - in the following video:

The outcome could have been very different though if it wasn't for a brilliant piece of last ditch defending a minute or so prior to Mossley's second goal. Yes, this is the aforementioned 'almost' bit of the game where Ossett briefly got the upper hand and it stemmed from a 75th minutes change of formation from the Lilywhites.

Before the reshuffling of the pack Mossley were lined up in 5-3-2 formation with the full backs pushing forward at every available opportunity, effectively making the shape 3-5-2 for significant periods of time. It worked fantastically well too; Ossett barely got within glimpsing distance of the Lilywhites goal let alone close enough to have a shot. After the change though Mossley reverted to the flat back four they've been using for the majority of games this season and just like in the majority of games this season, the defence got wobbly and things didn't look quite so rosy.

The ball was lost and given away with embarrassing frequency in an incredibly short space of time, culminating in a moment in which Ossett should have equalised. A cross from the left arrived at the feet of one of two Albion players alone and unmarked in the middle of the Mossley penalty area. The resulting shot beat the dive of Peter Collinge but not the outstretched foot of someone in a white shirt who'd managed to get back and hook the ball off the line. I'd like to name who that player was but because it's only possible to make out shapes and not who's who at medium to long distances under the new floodlights, I can't. So to whoever it was who stopped the visitors drawing level: thank you.

Overall though this was a much improved performance from the men in white shirts. However, just as you can't get carried away after one defeat, it would be silly to do so after one good result. If we can put in performances and results like this more consistently (and against better teams than Ossett - let's be honest, they were pretty poor) then it will be time to start thinking that a corner has been turned. The outcome of the next game at Harrogate Railway should give us a clue to whether that may be soon or a while longer yet.