MOSSLEY 2, CITY OF LIVERPOOL 1
Jack Bannister’s stunning solo strike for Mossley against City of Liverpool was worthy of winning any game.
The winger provided the X-Factor in first half stoppage time as the Lilywhites came from behind to claim the points which keeps them in the NPL west division’s play-off places.
Bannister initially produced a brilliant piece of footwork on the left flank to nick the ball past right back Peter Wylie before cutting inside and bending an exquisite shot past goalkeeper Ben Barnes.
It came after Mason Fawns had drawn Mossley level with his eighth goal of the season to cancel out the early lead given to City of Liverpool by centre forward Danny Mitchley.
“We needed that after last week’s defeat at Macclesfield Town,” explained Lilywhites’ manager David Fish.
He was referring to Mossley being 3-2 ahead after 88 minutes only to lose as Macc struck twice in stoppage time after an upset had looked about to unfold.
“There have been a few occasions this season of after the lord mayor’s parade when we have produced great performances against the top sides only then to slip up after being expected to beat teams,” he said.
“I was disappointed to go a goal down, but we produced a good response and in the second half managed the game well.”
City of Liverpool asked questions of Mossley and did not look a side which was third bottom with only four wins from 18 league games.
They went ahead in the fifth minute when Mitchley squeezed home a shot from the tightest of angles.
Fawns had failed to take a couple of chances before equalising after half an hour from a well worked team goal.
Bannister was involved before Bailey Marsden threaded a diagonal pass to release Fawns on the right of the penalty area from where he drove a low shot into the far corner.
The lively Bannister had the ball in the net in the 43rd minute only for the effort to be ruled out for offside in the build-up. He ghosted in at the far post to meet a cross from the right.
There was no doubt about the stoppage time goal from Bannister which was greeted by rapturous cheers from the 451 crowd which included some fans from Oldham Athletic and the Manchester clubs who were all without games.
While Fawns and Bannister found the net, it did not go unnoticed on Fish that Marsden, a young player now flourishing at NPL level, had provided assists for both.
The second half turned out to be an arm wrestle as both sides largely cancelled out the other until the dying minutes when City of Liverpool had two great chances to equalise only each time to be denied by Wigan Athletic loanee Tom Watson.
First, he made a diving save in the 88th minute to keep out a header from Kevin Ellison, the 43-year-old legend of the lower leagues who was still playing in the EFL for Newport County until six months ago.
Then in the first minute of stoppage time, Watson made a brilliant reflex save to turn over a close-range header from substitute Jack Hazelhurst.
The teenage Watson, a keeper of enormous potential, had rarely been needed all afternoon, but he delivered when called upon as Mossley remain the thick of the race for promotion.
Photos thanks to Martyn Nolan.