Glossop North End’s play-off hopes were dealt a potentially fatal blow in their penultimate game of the regular league season, as Mossley came from behind to deservedly claim a late derby win which secured their Evo-Stik First Division North status.
Report by Adam Higgins
Pictures by Steve Dyson
Top scorer Max Leonard gave the Hillmen an early lead against the run of play before man of the match Elliot Harrison levelled for the hosts just before the break.
Ben Richardson was sent off for Glossop early in the second half and Mossley made their numerical advantage count as Liam Ellis struck the decisive goal five minutes from time, before the Lilywhites lost Rob Flynn themselves to a second yellow card in stoppage time.
After wins for Trafford, Colne, Scarborough Athletic and Ossett Town elsewhere on Easter Monday, the defeat could yet prove to be disastrous for Glossop, who dropped down to seventh and one point behind fifth place with their final game against Lancaster City, who displaced Farsley Celtic as league leaders, now potentially a must-win at Surrey Street on Saturday.
Just 48 hours after a crucial home success against Colne which re-ignited their play-off bid, Chris Willcock’s side made the short trip to Seel Park hoping to avoid another banana skin after their thumping 7-2 loss at lowly Prescot Cables up against 20th placed Mossley, who had lost their previous four games without scoring a single goal.
It was the hosts who started the brighter and saw most of the ball early on as top scorer Tom Pratt and Dan Johnson both went close, so it may have come as a surprise to many when Glossop broke the deadlock in the 14th minute.
Leonard latched on to a pinpoint Adam Jones through-ball and calmly slotted home his 21st goal in all competitions of an impressive debut season in non-league football.
Cool: Leonard kept his composure to round the Mossley keeper and score from the edge of the box to put Glossop in front
With the game being played at a frenetic pace in the first half, Richardson fired straight at Mossley keeper Will Jones and Iwan Heeley volleyed just wide for the visitors.
But Mossley were well in the game and found an equaliser two minutes before the break in scrappy circumstances as Harrison bundled home from close range.
There was still time before the players headed to the dressing rooms for Glossop keeper Jonathan Musangu to get away with a handball outside the box, which he was only booked for as the last man.
Glossop’s task got harder just three minutes after the interval when Richardson, having already been booked in the first half, was given his marching orders by referee Luke Watson against his former club for a needless foul before kicking the tunnel on his way off the pitch.
The Lilywhites, who lost 3-0 at Kendal Town on Saturday, sensed the opportunity and upped the ante as Harrison passed up a good chance when shooting just wide.
At the other end, Leonard’s free-kick was well saved by Jones and another effort from the forward was off target in a rare glimpse of the Mossley goal for the visitors in the second half.
Increasingly seeing more of the ball, the hosts piled on the pressure as Glossop were forced into a number of last-ditch defensive interventions.
Eventful: It was another action-packed contest between the sides after Glossop edged the Boxing Day clash 3-2 at Surrey Street
After Flynn and Matty Burke went close, Pratt went down in the box but saw his strong appeal for a penalty waved away before Mohamud Ali could have netted against his former club with his header from Caldon Henson’s long throw-in dropping wide.
With Glossop retreating and holding on, it was only a matter of time and Mossley got their rewards in the 85th minute. A long ball caught out James Hurtley and Ellis latched on it before lobbing Masunga for his first Mossley goal to complete the turnaround.
It almost got better when Flynn’s curling effort travelled inches wide of the post before he was dismissed in injury time to even up the numbers at 10 against 10.
Mossley held on to claim a first win in seven in their final home game of the campaign to mathematically guarantee a place in the division next season.
While a disjointed Glossop were off the pace and could have few complaints as their consistent form continued and the Hillmen are left with an agonising wait until the final day to see if they can secure a play-off berth for the second successive season.
Mossley FC: Jones, Henson, Johnson, Ali, Dean (c), Harrison, Burke, Flynn, Ellis, Duffy (Quansah 90), Pratt (Byrnes 87).
Subs not used: Scullion, McLaughlin, Hill
Booked: Duffy, Flynn
Sent-off: Flynn (90+2′)
Goals: Harrison (43′), Ellis (85′)
Glossop North End: Musangu, Parker, Dugdale (Moran 61), Hurtley, Rick (Johnson 77), Andrews, Heeley (Platt 67), A Jones, Norton (c), Leonard, Richardson.
Subs not used: Lowe, K Jones.
Booked: Richardson, Musangu, Jones
Sent-off: Richardson (48′)
Goals: Leonard (14′)
Referee: Luke Watson (Barnsley)