Sunday, 10 July 2011

Mossley 1 – 5 Halifax Town; 09/07/2011.


I sympathise for Mossley80, but I need to clear that up. I don't mean that in a way of giving charidee to the more tinpot in our lives; it's he himself that makes out a life of following Mossley to be like fishing an endless clump of hair from the basin. Like me at times, it'll take him days after the event to muster the courage to write a match day report. Just a few days ago he surpassed himself by writing a report for the season's final game: over two months after the event itself. In his defense, it'd be impossible to describe the latter half of Mossley's 2010/11 season as anything but BLEAK, all facts in mind. What Mossley80 manages to do is paint in every shade of gray that was last season's Mossley experience with adroit skill that makes it read as both hilarious and tragic.

And though he didn't attend Saturday's match, Mossley80 missed what I'd say was a pre-season highlight. Pleasant weather, and a few points of interest on and off-field. Taking a place on the terraces was a friend of mine on tour from America, coming from Orange County to Mossley. What? He was impressed. Mistakes were made around the oh-so-confusing 2pm kick-off but little action was missed tbh, this being a friendly. 

The Lilywhites themselves have pride in their 100% record against the Shaymen at Seel Park. The only time we've been here as FC Halifax Town we lost an abject 3–1 on a cold night in Sept '08, newly-reformed and dressed in badgeless, plain-blue shirts and shorts. The Jim Vince team that never got on that night, and never would for the rest of the season. Today the sun shines, the Pennines are in full view, and Town are favourites for a third consecutive promotion into the Conference Premier. A contrasting "where are they now?" reunion. Though Seel Park looks fine in the sun, the greatest part of the ground has to be the Mossley squad's nude 2011 calendar on sale in the club shop. As tempting as it is, how many of the models have now left the club?

The furious face of concentration.

Mossley earns the award of being the first ever ground I've been to that offers a full vegetarian experience. Cheese & onion pies can be had, along with chunky chips and mushy peas that my O.C. pal mistook for guacamole. That's a substantial meal! (Shut up, it is.) A tasty one, too. Within the time it took to be eaten, goal number one came courtesy of none other than Jamie Vardy, clear with a short finish going downhill towards Mossley's oldie-but-goodie "Kop" end. After that, conveniently within the time it takes to lump a load of peas on your plastic fork, Mossley had a long-range free kick despatched by Joe Heap, an 18-year-old striker who proved prolific in Mossley's youth set-up. Within those two minutes, any scouts still voyeuristically peering at Vardy would've been completely distracted by the youngster's effort, a top corner effort that could suppress any pre-season yawn. 

We were impressed but weren't going to be happy to move into half-time level. A foul from Mossley's #2 made the player forget about any notion of "friendly" after which a skirmish ensued, Town fans getting a little fed-up with the referee who was seemingly showing his eighth-tier credentials. After a third foul went unpunished outside the area, the Mossley defense kicked out the ball only for it to reach an ambitious Danny Lowe, who drove it in from 30 yards. Whey.

 In-keeping with American football, half-time entertainment was observed. Willing to make the most of Mossley's 100th anniversary of playing at Seel Park, a dressed-up club representative took to the pitch to sing Nessun Dorma. Oh dear you may say, did he mime to a karaoke track? Was it tone-deaf screeching? Did the Tannoy decide to act up? None of the above—the man did a fine service to the song that none of the 300-strong crowd were ever going to appreciate. Trust me, it wasn't bad!

I'm not reliable enough to catch any match action, but at least I got a snap that demonstrates the pitch slope we sussed out.

The second-half finished 'em off without either team giving up the ghost. 3–1, 4–1, then 5–1, where a Lee Gregory header hit the bar and took advantage of the Mossley contours, bouncing home from a bump in the hallowed turf. We were set to make it six or more as the floodgates opened, but were happy to see an enthusiastic display from all involved bar a few dispirited gents in the Lilywhites' defence. Two leagues below us, Mossley may be the lowest-ranked team we'll play this year and there's nowt to be alarmed about so far.

Oh god, and one of those golden fan comments came visitin'. A few Shayman fans were getting wound up by the youthful, emaciated linesman ("linesboy") skipping down the touchline . . .
Fan: Teagan! Tell that linesman to do his job properly!
Fan's two kids, in unison: LINESMAN! DO YOUR JOB PROPERLYYY!
Indoctrination at its best.

The full-time whistle blowed and we were treated to a particularly maudlin ditty, Handbags and the Glad Rags by the Stereophonics, a worldwide ode to the discarded polystyrene teacup and chipped paint falling from old stands. Perhaps Mossley80 was here in spirit.

Mossley 1 – 5 Halifax Town
Entertainment: 7/10


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