Reds end their pre-season with a win
Reds concluded their protracted pre-season with a hard-earned win at Seel Park but it wasn’t Sam Joel’s superb winning goal being discussed over the post-match pint.
The major talking point was the ugly fracas which literally kicked off in the fifty-sixth minute, leaving both sides reduced to ten men in this so-called friendly.
Gari Rowntree aimed a kick at the grounded Godwin Abadaki and his needless action sparked mayhem with players and team officials exchanging unpleasant verbals in the incident near the Mossley technical area.
The task of restoring order was left to Rochdale referee, Conor Brown, and assistant, Ian Claridge. With so much going on, they did well to sort out a situation that tarnished this first meeting between the clubs for twenty years.
Rowntree was eventually shown a red card as was Mossley’s Ben Richardson for his part in the afters. In addition, home defender Adam Jones and Reds’ striker Joel picked up a yellow card apiece, while other miscreants escaped punishment.
Both clubs now await the referee’s report to ascertain what further action, if any, will be administered by the FA.
A lack of quality on the pitch saw Reds fade after a bright start and it was the Evo-Stik West outfit who led at half time.
Mike Fish released co-striker Max Leonard through the middle and the latter got clear of Reds’ flat-footed rearguard and guided the ball into the net beyond the helpless Aaran Taylor, giving the hosts a thirty-ninth minute lead.
Brad Hubbold had a shot saved by Jonny Diba Musangu just seconds after the kick-off whilst Niall Cowperthwaite, Arron Bradbury, Joel and Jason Walker all squandered subsequent efforts at goal. Bradbury came close to opening the scoring with his second attempt which hit the foot of the post.
After Mossley’s opener, Conor Tinnion went in search of an equaliser but a well-struck shot was kept out by Diba Musangu.
Reds had restored parity before the naughty stuff started via a fifty-third minute penalty. A wayward back pass was intercepted by Reds’ Walker who was impeded by Declan Evans. The referee pointed to the spot and Walker blasted home his seventh goal of pre-season.
Then, following a corner in the seventy-seventh minute, Reds got their noses in front. An exhibition of head tennis in the area culminated in the ball dropping conveniently to Joel and he promptly volleyed the ball into the net with a sweet left foot finish.
The drama didn’t end there. In their next attack, Mossley also won a penalty after a coming together of Hubbold and Evans as the latter broke through. Fish, who wasted an earlier gilt-edged chance, then saw his penalty saved by Taylor – an expert in keeping out spot-kicks.
And in the final minute, Mossley substitute, Adam Latham, should have levelled matters only to drag his shot wide when clean through.
Reds boss David Hewson was clearly unhappy seeing skipper Rowntree dismissed but praised the character of the side for their second-half recovery.
Mossley Diba Musangu, Richardson, Downey, Harrison, Jones, Evans, Abadaki, Keogh, Leonard, Fish, Duffy. Substitutes – Latham, Burgess, Ellis, McLaughlin, Jeffs, Trialist.
Workington Taylor, Miller (Harker, 86), Rowntree, Smith (Mellen, 26), Douglas, Hubbold, Bradbury (Pearson, 78), Cowperthwaite, Walker, Joel, Tinnion. Substitutes – Holliday, Hetherington and Mossop (not used).
Referee Conor Brown, Rochdale
Red cards: Richardson (Mossley) and Rowntree (Workington)
Yellow cards: Jones (Mossley) and Joel (Workington)