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Band reflects on a disappointing campaign at Mossley, but vows to make things better next season
Tuesday 25th April 2017 @ 12:31 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Mossley Football Club joint-manager Peter Band has thanked the board of directors for their patience in what has been a challenging season for the Lilywhites.

Alongside co-boss Lloyd Morrison, Band steered the club to safety in the Evo-Stik Division One North with just one game of the season to spare.

In what was a nervy end to the season, the Lilywhites confirmed their position in step eight after claiming a surprise 2-1 victory over Glossop North End on Easter Monday.

While the result confirmed Mossley’s safety, it severely dented Glossop’s playoff chances, and the Hillmen’s fate was finally sealed on the final day in a 5-2 loss to champions Lancaster City.

Band admitted that the season has been disappointing, but highlighted some of the issues which made life difficult at Seel Park. He said:  “When we started pre-season, we only lost Scott Kay out of the Manchester Premier Cup winning side, so we were thinking a couple more players and we’ll be up there again, but then Scott left us to join FC United, while Micky Thomas and Dougie Carroll left due to work commitments.

“Around Christmas time we lost Mike Fish to Brighouse Town, skipper Andy Keogh to Trafford, and the lads who weren’t getting in the side at the time – John Bennett and Dave Short – left for Northwich, so we lost about ten players by January.”

With a combined total of 32 goals during this season alone, Fish and Keogh’s departure marked the beginning of a barren spell in front of goal for the Lilywhites.

Although he was saddened to lose their services, Band understood their reasons for moving on. He said: “Fish and Keogh were hard to replace with their 32 goals between them this season, but you only play football once, so you can’t blame them for leaving.

“Keogh wanted to be at the right end of the table, and so did Fish.”

In a last ditch effort to save the club from a looming relegation, Band recruited the services of Halifax Town loannee Elliott Harrison.

The 20-year-old scored seven times in six appearances during his short stint with Mossley, which subsequently helped the club avoid the dreaded drop.

Band praised Harrison’s impact at the club, while admitting that he’d like to retain his services next season. “Elliot’s a credit to himself and Halifax” said Band.

“We would love to keep him on, but he’s Halifax’s player.”

If Harrison re-joins the squad next season, he’ll be part of a team which, according to Band, has every chance of claiming promotion.

Questioned on whether promotion is on the agenda next season, Band said: “It is every season. We were in the playoffs four or five years ago, and we were seventh two seasons ago.

“Next season isn’t going to be easy. Atherton Collieries are coming up, along with Cleethorpes and South Shields, who are all big hitters with a solid fan base.

“You’ve also got Frickley Athletic and Skelmersdale United coming down.

“It will be tough next year, but I feel if myself and Lloyd can get a decent pre-season, which we’ve already started on, then I think we’ll be up there.”

In other news at Seel Park, the club has been unsuccessful in its bid to win a £50,000 product bursary, provided by the Buildbase Club Renovation Programme.

The Lilywhites were one of six clubs in the running to win a share of the £100,000 bursary, but were unfortunately pipped to the prize by Cleethorpes Town FC and Hanwell Town FC.

Launched at the start of the 2016/17 season, the Buildbase Club Renovation is open to clubs throughout the country who enter the FA Trophy and FA Vase competitions.

It will be running against next season, with a further £100,000 for two clubs.