TRAFFORD 2, MOSSLEY 1
Mossley’s slender hopes of making the Northern Premier League, west division promotion play-off places all but disappeared following their defeat at Trafford.
It leaves the Lilywhites ninth in the table and 11 points adrift of fifth place with only eight games left.
Not for the first time this season, Mossley were undone by a late goal as centre back Adam Rooney scored an 87th minute winner for the hosts.
Mossley had fallen behind to a first-half goal from former Stalybridge Celtic strike Mike Burke only to claw their way back with a Harry Pratt equaliser early in the second half.
It was frustrating for Mossley manager David Fish said: “We were very poor in the first half and weren’t at the races.
“We started the second half well for 15/20 minutes and then stopped doing the things that we had been doing well.
“And their winner was a catalogue of mistakes with players not doing their roles right at a set-piece.”
Mossley were depleted through injuries and unavailability of players as this had been scheduled to be a free weekend and some had other commitments.
They were without full backs Ben Richardson and Jack Grundy, midfielders Andy Keogh and Mason Fawns and goalkeeper Dale Latham.
Mossley had only 14 players, including two goalkeepers at training two days before the match.
And that forced Fish into the transfer market for two new full backs who made their debuts at Trafford.
Oliver Broe, who was signed on dual forms from National League North club Farsley Celtic, had trained twice with the club but the deal for Prestwich Hey’s Joe Rothwell was only completed the night before the game.
Broe, 20, has an impressive CV as he was in the academy at Liverpool and did a scholarship at Wigan Athletic.
Trafford had a lucky break when they took the lead in the 34th minute. Matty Barlow’s shot took a massive deflection into the path of Burke who had the simple task of slotting home from about eight yards.
Mossley, who failed to muster a decent chance in the opening period, were level within two minutes of the restart.
Bailey Marsden, under pressure, delivered a brilliant cross from the right. Broe, ghosting from defence, had a free header but struck the upright when it looked as though he could not miss.
The ball rebounded to Pratt who hooked in a shot from about eight yards as Mossley were back in the game.
Sadly, they were unable to build on that goal and only a series of fine saves from Rochdale loanee goalkeeper Brad Kelly kept them in the game.
Kelly brilliantly denied Barlow and Ollie Ford before Trafford eventually regained the lead. Rob Worrall’s corner was header on at the near post for Rooney to scramble home from almost on the goalline.
There was almost as much action in the four minutes of added time than in the previous 90.
Mossley, forced to take risks in pursuit of an equaliser, left themselves wide open at the back as Kelly saved them from a heavier loss with big saves to deny the lively Ford and Max Hazeldine.
Yet Mossley had a couple of decent chances as Connor Morris slid a shot narrowly wide and centre back Devon Matthews’ header flew past the upright.