CURZON ASHTON 3, MOSSLEY 1
MOSSLEY discovered how fine the margins between success and failure can be in their defeat against Curzon Ashton in the final of the Manchester Premier Cup.
Had Max Leonard put Mossley 2-1 ahead after an hour – he was denied by an unbelievable save from former Lilywhites’ loanee Cameron Mason – there could well have been a different outcome at Hyde United’s Ewen Fields.
Eight minutes later and Curzon took the lead with a deflected shot from Louis Wardle which looped over goalkeeper Josh Ollerenshaw.
It was a valiant effort from Mossley who had been looking to lift the cup for a fifth time since 2012.
“The players did the club proud. If I were the Curzon manager, I would have expected to beat a team two divisions below them,” explained Mossley joint manager Dave Wild.
“I am gutted to lose but we must now focus on winning our last three league games and trying to get into play-offs.
“If somebody said you would get beaten in the cup final or beat Ramsbottom on Saturday, I would go for the three points.”
Wild thought after the opening 25 minutes, when he described his players as like “rabbits in headlights” he was delighted with his team’s display.
“Once we sussed out their game plan, it was an even game,” he continued.
Curzon, from National League North, took the lead in the 19th minute through a composed finish from former Oldham Athletic striker Ryan Brooke who latched on to a long through ball.
Mossley equalised one minute before the break when Adam Jones flicked on a Ben Richardson long throw and Leonard scored with the sweetest of volleys.
Leonard came close to putting Mossley ahead on the hour after Mike Fish opened up the Curzon defence on the left, but how Mason kept out his shot defied belief.
Curzon went 2-1 ahead not long after when Mossley failed to clear a Luke Wall cross and Wardle’s shot deflected past Ollerenshaw.
Mossley’s keeper, also an ex Oldham Athletic professional, pulled off a stunning save to deny Wall and keep his side in the game.
The Lilywhites ought to have equalised with four minutes left when substitute Dieter Downey ghosted in at the far post to meet a cross but shot narrowly over.
Pictures thanks to Martyn Nolan
Curzon sealed victory in the 89th minute with a stunning solo effort from Wall who was signed from Stalybridge Celtic early in the season.
He collected the ball on the right and cut inside on a weaving run before firing into the far corner from the tightest of angles, a goal that helped cement the man-of-the-match award.
Mossley kept battling and Jones was denied a second Mossley goal at the death as Mason made another good stop.
It was Curzon’s clinical finishing that gave them the edge in a contest when it was difficult to discern there was two divisions separating the teams.