Ground Number: 290
Monday 26th August 2013
Mossley 2-3 Curzon Ashton
NPL D1 North
MOSSLEY AFC - A BRIEF HISTORY
The club was formed in 1903 and played friendlies and in local leagues in their formative years. In 1919 they would join the Cheshire League, finishing as runners-up twice before joining the Northern Premier League in 1972. Whilst the league was just a single tier, they were champions twice and runners-up a further three times. In 1987 the league would expand and Mossley would remain in the Premier Division until 1993 when they finished second bottom. Relegation to Division 1 did not improve fortunes and within two seasons they suffered a further demotion, this time to the North West Counties League. This finally saw an upturn in results, but they'd have to wait until 2003 to win promotion back, this time as runners-up to Clitheroe. Since then, aside from a sole season in the NPL Premier, they have remained in the second tier, last making a playoff bid in 2013 where they finished 5th, only to lose 1-0 to Cammell Laird in the semi finals.
There have been a couple of notable runs in the FA Cup, with Mossley most notably in the 1949/50 season when they reached the 2nd Round. Ashton United, Altrincham, Northwich Victoria, Buxton, Droylesden, Runcorn & Witton Albion were beaten before defeat to Nuneaton Borough after a replay. They repeated the trick again in 1980, beating Crewe Alexandra before losing 3-1 to Mansfield Town. Mossley reached the 1980 FA Trophy Final, only to lose 2-1 to Dagenham at Wembley Stadium. In the FA Vase the club have three Quarter Final appearances to their name. A plethora of local cups have won, as well as the Manchester Premier Cup seven times, the Ashton Challenge Cup on nine occasions, the Manchester Intermediate Cup three times and the Manchester Senior Cup twice. The record attendance of 6,640 came in 1946 for a local derby against Stalybridge Celtic whilst the biggest win, 9-0 against Urmston came the following year. There have been a number of notable players for Mossley but the one standout name in the dugout was Howard Wilkinson who managed the club during the 1976/77 season.
VISIT 1: MOSSLEY 2-3 CURZON ASHTON
Today would be 2 games in one day. First up was Mossley, a ground I had wanted to visit for ages, after going there randomly on a Sunday on the way back from a weekend away. They were really friendly and showed me around the boardroom and some of the trophies that they had won down the years. It was also a classic old ground with some nice scenery all around, so I was really looking forward to it.
Today's opponents were Curzon Ashton, who I had seen around a year and a half ago at their own ground were flying after a perfect start to the season. They had won 3 out of 3. They were another really friendly club, and it was a great night out when I'd visited the previous season. I had also seen them play at New Mills last season and had met a few people from there, one of whom was their manager John Flanagan's son Aaron, who I chat to on Facebook and Twitter. Mossley meanwhile, were still looking for their first win of the season - they had drawn 2 and lost 1 of their opening 3 games.
I left at 9 and after a few delays got to Mossley at 12.40. I parked up near the ground and put a pub I had found in my CAMRA app, the Rising Sun, into Google maps. Looking on their website they looked to have a great range of ciders, which was right up my street. After a jog up there I got there just before 1PM. I was delighted to find a cider that was exclusive to the pub, made by Pure North. I also had a pint of Naish's Singing Cider, both of which were delicious. A really friendly place too, with lovely scenery of the rolling hills out of the front window. A place that I will certainly be returning to in the future, and probably now my favourite ever pub. After that, I walked back into town looking for food, but being a bank holiday everywhere was closed. So I bought some chicken and brownies from the Co-Op, collected my things from my car and went into the ground.
After paying to get in and buying a programme I took a walk around the ground and got some pictures. I was looking forward to visiting the club shop, but sadly it remained closed for the afternoon. I consoled myself with some chips, which were excellent and good value at £1.20. It was really hot and so I took some shelter under the stand where it was a bit cooler. The game was a decent one and a real local derby as the 2 sides are a few miles from each other. Matthew Warburton gave Curzon Ashton the lead when he was put through and finished an easy one on one chance. It remained that way at the break and the visitors were good value for their lead. However, in the second half, Mossley stepped up their game and were rewarded with an equaliser on 59 minutes when Sam Madeley netted after a real bit of goalmouth pinball. Their joy was short lived however as Warburton got his second for Curzon a minute later, a header from a corner restoring their lead. It looked to be all over on 66 minutes as Warburton took the ball around the keeper before finishing into an empty net. However, there was still time for Mossley to set up a frenetic finish when Kevin McGrath headed in. Despite applying lots of pressure in the remaining 10 minutes or so, they were unable to find the equaliser.
It had been a good first part to the day, and it was nice when a couple of Mossley fans came up and shook my hand and thanked me for coming all the way from Wycombe. I am glad I had come, the only disappointment was that the club shop was closed, as I bet there is a right treasure trove of books and programmes etc in there.
SEEL PARK is a wonderfully traditional old ground, and a must visit for any groundhopper as there are not many around like it anymore. The main stand is on the same side as you go in and holds around 300. There is a covered terrace to the right, holding around 600, and one opposite holding around 500. The rest is open terracing. A really friendly club on both occasions I have visited too and you will be made to feel welcome. And the view of the rolling countryside around the ground is very nice too.
The club shop looks to be good judging from the website. I ordered a small pennant and a pen for £3.50 including postage as it was not open on my visit. The tea bar was good value too, and the chips I had were lovely. The bar was busy when I went there, but I didn't take much notice as I had already had a couple of pints and had to drive to Hyde after the game. The town is nearby and has a few places, though I'd recommend visiting the Rising Sun - a superb range of drinks and they did pizzas too, which I wish I'd tried.