DANNY McLaughlin scored the perfect hat-trick in his first match at Seel Park following his return to Mossley in the emphatic win against Oldham Athletic’s academy side.
The former Diggle FC striker, who found the net with his right and left foot as well as a header, provided manager David Fish with a selection quandary with the new season less than one week away.
“I want pressure on whichever players I select from one to 11 and for all 20 players in the squad to be good enough to be in the team,” he explained.
Fish, who rested key players like Declan Evans, Jordan Butterworth and Harry Pratt, was delighted with the players who were given a chance.
The Lilywhites manager was also impressed with Greenfield’s Dylan Fitzgerald while loanee Keaton Mulvey provided three assists on his debut.
It was very much a case of men against boys as Oldham’s youngsters were unable to match Mossley’s muscle and physicality with Kane Hickman the enforcer in the middle of the park and centre-back Steve Mason imperious.
Mossley had the game won inside 12 minutes by which time they were 2-0 ahead.
Mulvey crossed from the right for McLaughlin’s opener as he shrugged off Asa Hughes at the near post before firing home.
Jes Uchebulam and Fitzgerald linked to set up McLaughlin’s second, another close-range effort from inside the six-yard box.
Mossley made it 3-0 after half an hour when Mason beat Polish goalkeeper Kasper Danielawick to a Sam Kilner cross.
Oldham came out far more positive for the second period as Isaac Modi’s deflected shot reduced the deficit nine minutes after the restart.
Mulvey was denied by the upright before his corner was headed home by McLaughlin who completed his treble.
It was a painful moment as he clashed heads with team-mate Jack Grundy as both players made an aerial challenge for the dead ball.
Mulvey’s corner was headed home by Uchegbulam midway through the second period as Mossley made it five.
And it could have conceivably been a wider margin as Fitzgerald twice went close in the last half hour as Mossley remained an offensive threat.