Mossley 1 - 2 Prescot Cables

There’s a very famous proverb that says it’s always darkest before the dawn; that things always seem to be at their worst right at the point just before they get better. If this particular adage is indeed true then we’re in for quite a spectacular sunrise at Mossley because at the moment it is positively pitch black.

If it wasn’t already bad enough in recent weeks thanks to the reversals against Leigh and Cammel Laird, the tenebrous atmosphere that has settled over Seel Park was added to by this not-as-surprised-I-should-be defeat to Prescot Cables, making it an unholy trinity of three successive defeats to sides from the lower echelons of the Evo-Stik First Division; an area of the league Mossley will soon becoming accustomed to once more should they not rediscover even the most infinitesimal amount of form any time soon.

Despite going down at home to a team who were a) lying third from bottom of the table before the game and b) quite possibly the worst visiting side to have graced Seel Park this season, there are some who’ll raise an argument – albeit not one that many supporters would be prepared to back up – that this was an improved performance because we had the lion’s share of possession and it’s true: we did. The reason we did though is because after Prescot took an 11th minute lead they treated the ball like it was a hand grenade with the pin missing.

Never before have I seen whole a team so unwilling to keep hold of the ball. Every time they took possession it was launched anywhere at the first available opportunity. It was like those game periods at school when pupils who hated football were forced to take part in a match and on the occasions they couldn’t runaway from the ball, would close their eyes and wildly swing a leg at it.

Prescot’s panicky reaction naturally meant that Mossley got to see more of that little sphere of synthetic material encased air - or the ball - than they have done in a game for quite a while. Yet in spite of this the number of chances the Lilywhites created was in no way proportional to it. Part of the reason why is due to the number of bodies the visitors had loaded their defence with in an effort to hang to the lead but mostly it was down to Mossley showing the same amount of creativity that a lumpfish with a sprained fin would have if it had been tasked with unlocking the Cables back line.

The way the home side were lined-up wasn’t exactly aiding matters. That’s not say that the 4-5-1 formation they employed for a sizeable proportion of the game was to blame as isn’t necessarily a negative formation. If the lone striker is well supported from both the flanks and the midfield it can be a formidable set-up for a defending team to have to counter. Against Prescot however the problem was that lone striker was not well supported. The use of the phrase ‘ploughing a lone furrow’ couldn’t be more apt to describe Chris Hall’s efforts on the night.

Outside of the now all-to-familiar long, long pass his supply line was next to non-existent. Like the last match the five players strung across the midfield provided little in the way of width. You knew that if you began to count every time the ball made its way to a wide position that by the time you got to 3 it would be being played or carried back towards the crowded middle again. Then again, in employing a centre half/sometime right back as a right sided midfielder and two right footed players on the left side, there was hardly going to be much chance of them haring towards the corners and pinging over a cross.

Cables keeper Michael Langley didn’t have to make a save until midway through the second half when he had to quickly back peddle to tip a looping effort from Mike Oates over the bar. He then made a superb point blank stop to deny Matty Kay not long after but there was little he could do to stop Mossley finally pulling level in the 77th minute when a shot from distance by right back Ryan Barrow took a slight deflection that left him wrong footed.

It should have been the moment that saw Mossley find a higher gear but instead it was the visitors who responded. After spending the majority of the game looking like panic crazed amateurs they suddenly began to pass the ball around with an unerring degree of accuracy that split the Lilywhites wide open. Collinge did well to prevent Prescot’s second shot of the match from entering the net with a scrambled save on the goal line but he was powerless to stop their third effort as Joe Gibiliru Jr , son of the former ex-Mossley player of the same name, waltzed through the at sixes and sevens defence to pick up a loose ball and score. There’s a question to be asked as to why Prescot didn’t play the whole match like this but from a Mossley perspective I’m rather thankful they didn’t or else this result might have been even more depressing than it actually was.

To no one’s real surprise Mossley couldn’t respond to going behind for a second time in the match and the game petered out to growing acrimony for the disgruntled still left inhabiting the terraces at the final whistle. On this evidence I think it’s going to be a good while yet before the sun starts peeking over the horizon and dissipates the gloom enveloping us at the moment.


Anonymous said...
4:08 pm

Mossley need to sign super Scotty Barlow now that Trafford has listed him - a seriously prolific striker as recently as 18 months ago, with age on his side and an appetite to disprove his critics.