Mossley show steel in Manchester Premier Cup victory over Ashton United
Wednesday 4th October 2017 @ 12:24 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Mossley joint-manager Peter Band is hoping that Tuesday’s Manchester Premier Cup victory over Ashton United will mark the beginning of a good run of form – starting on Saturday against Skelmersdale United in the FA Trophy.

The Lilywhites have joined Droylsden in the next round of the competition after beating the Robins 3-2 on penalties.

Mossley were dealt a blow in the early stages of the game when Caldon Henson received a straight red card after brining down Liam Tomsett when clean through on goal.

Ashton capitalised on the one-man advantage and took the lead in the 18th minute when John Roberts slotted home inside the box.

Despite falling a goal behind and playing with ten men, Mossley battled well and their efforts were rewarded in the 67th minute when a free-kick from the left wing was nodded home from eight yards out by Rio Ahmadi.

Both sides went in search of the winner in the final 20 minutes but were unable to convert their chances in front of goal.

With the score level at the end of 90 minutes, the game went straight to penalties and Mossley won 3-2

Band said his side deserved the victory and heaped praise on his players’ commitment under difficult circumstances. “We’ve been reduced to ten men a few times this season” said Band.

“We put Mo Ali into centre mid, brought James-McLean Oppong on, and then put two up front.

“Everyone put a shift in and I can’t ask for any more from the lads, playing nearly 90 minutes with ten men.

“If you looked at it, you’d have thought it was 11-a-side, but they’ve grafted and this cup has been good to us, so let’s hope we can take it into the FA Trophy on Saturday.”

Band, who is taking charge of the Lilywhites with Lloyd Morrison for a fifth consecutive season, said he was impressed with the way his side responded after two disappointing league results.

Mossley were denied victory in the dying stages of their previous two fixtures, conceding a 90th minute penalty at Ossett Town last Tuesday and a 92nd minute strike at Clitheroe on Saturday.

Praising the response, Band said: “The last two games have been a kick in the stomach, but it was a great response tonight.

“We left a few out – Jack Tuohy, Elliott Harrison and Liam Ellis were on the bench – but it was probably the strongest bench we’ve had, and it showed in the end when we brought them on later in the game.”

Compared to some of the other teams challenging at the top end of the table this season, Mossley have so far struggled for goals and found the back of the net just 15 times in 11 league outings.

Although far from worrisome, Band has sought to improve his sides fortunes in front of goal by re-signing popular striker Mike Fish, who left Seel Park in January to join Brighouse Town before moving to Colne in August.

Band is delighted to have Fish back and believes the striker will add valuable  firepower in opposition territory. He said: “As we saw tonight, we’re creating seven or eight chances, but we need someone to give Liam Ellis and Danny McLaughlin a lift up front. At the moment the wide men are scoring the goals.

“He was a big miss last season, scoring 25 goals in 23 games for us.

“He’s a local lad and his wife is pregnant, so he wants to be nearer to home.

“We’ve got Rio Ahmadi back now, so that’s two players from two or three years ago who notched 40 goals between them, so it’s going to be a big plus.”