Mossley 1 - 4 Woodley Sports

I really don't know where to start or what to do with this blog entry. Actually the start is easy: this was one of the most abject Mossley performances I've seen for a good number of years. It's what to follow it with that's the problem.

On the one hand I don't want to be overly critical, especially after my last posting in which I said it was too early in the season to do such a thing. On the other though it's impossible not to be when you've just witnessed a display that doesn't scream off day but that we have a huge bleeping problems. However, if I was to do the latter and go through all the things that were wrong, or even if I just listed half of the problems that were in evidence over the course of this spell of ninety minutes, I'd be writing practically non-stop for a week. It was that bad. Or it was if you were a Mossley fan. If you were a Woodley supporter then you'd probably just seen your side pick up the easiest three points they'll get all season.

With the employment of some more composed finishing prior to it, Woodley's opener could easily have been the goal that put the seal on the win for the visitors. Of course it's not unusual for a side to have missed enough chances to have won a game before they finally find the back of the net for the first time but I doubt there are many who've done this with only eight minutes of a game having elapsed. The term one-sided was invented for matches like this and how Woodley failed to capitalise on their dominance is beyond me. Actually it isn't; they didn't get the goals they deserved because their forwards were next to useless in front of the net. It meant that for the majority of the match the simple pass-and-go move up the pitch which ripped through Mossley's paper thin resistance, and finished off by Jordan Stepien, was the only thing that separated the two sides. Well that and the the visitors superior level of fitness, their work rate and their decision to field a midfield to name but three of many other things.

Against any other team they'd have probably been made to pay for their wastefulness but happily for them they were facing Mossley. In the seven minutes prior to Stepien's strike and for a significant time after it the only time the Lilywhites entered their opponents half was to chase down the mortar-like passes from the back that formed the majority of their attacking tactics. It took a while but the home side did eventually realise that kicking the ball along the ground to a team mate was slightly more beneficial than lumping it in the general direction of their head. Alas, while it saw them enjoy a bit more possession, it didn't lead to a solitary shot in anger that forced visiting keeper Liam Higginbotham into taking action to preserve his sides lead.

With time in the game running out a shift in formation saw Mossley move to a three man back line. I assume this was to enable more men to move forward in search of a late equaliser but the difference it made to Mossley's attacking fortunes was the square root of zero. Woodley's attacking fortunes however benefited enormously. With even more gaps at the back to exploit they finally started to give the match a more realistic looking scoreline. In the space of five minutes a one goal lead became four and could easily have been six if the post and a terrible finish hadn't come to the home sides rescue.

If the score had stayed 1-0 to Woodley it would have flattered us immensely and I'm sure that in some quarters it would have been seen and spun as a half decent result too. However, while you can pull the wool over the eyes of people who didn't see what happened and have them believe late goals skewed the scoreline or whatever, the reality is that those who saw the game know that even with a 4-0 defeat the home team got off lightly and that against a good side, rather than a half-decent one, it could have been a massacre.

I did say though that I wasn't going to go into full-on critical mode this early into the campaign so instead of picking at the bones (the bare, meat free bones) of this performance just end with this: Three games, one point, one meaningful shot on target in 180 minutes of football at Seel Park, a lack of shape and ideas and the body language of some players already suggests they want to be anywhere else but here. Oh yes, Mossley's season is well underway.