It is an irony that will neither escape nor be enjoyed by anyone at Billesley Common but midway through their season, the play-off structure that prompted collective insomnia among the Moseley faithful last term, will have them resting slightly more easily this.

Because make no mistake about it, on their current trajectory Ian Smith’s men are heading for a bottom four finish and another round of ‘Who Blinks First’ – the less than popular parlour game, perhaps that should be parlous game, in which the future of a club can be decided in six short matches.

When Mose found themselves among such troubled opponents as Coventry and Birmingham & Solihull last spring, there was an outpouring of righteous indignation.

Not only had they beaten Bristol on the final day of the regular programme, they had won ten of their 22 matches and finished 56 points above the bottom team. It was both perverse and ridiculous that their place in the division should be called into question.

However, with just two wins and a couple of scratchy draws from their first 11 games in the current season, they have little chance of reaching double figures in the victories column and are on course to fall short of Coventry’s total of five in 2009-10. And we all know what happened to Coventry, don’t we?

Not that it is by any means certain Ian Smith’s side are heading off gently into that good night but having failed to win in front of their own supporters and instead offered the losses at home to Esher and Plymouth, they have rendered fanciful the notion that they are destined to finish in the top eight.

But perhaps most worryingly of all, a squad that prizes performances above such irrelevant fripperies like results can be ceremoniously hoist on its own petard. Even when the wins have come, the performances have been dreadful.

Success at Doncaster on the second weekend said as much about the Knights’ now-traditional early season travails, as it did about any heights the visitors hit.

Having endured Tristan Roberts’ frailties for the last two years, Mose were at last able to enjoy them with a charge-down of their former fly-half that led to a decisive try.

The other four-pointer came at Damson Park in a game in which Moseley were beaten in every aspect but tenacity and the scoreboard. Yann Thomas’ injury time score and Ollie Thomas’ touchline conversion with the last kick of the game, brought the sweetest of 22-20 victories.

And in the spirit of beggars not being too choosy let’s not ignore the draws against Cornish Pirates and the glass-jawed Bristolians.

Another last-minute touchline kick, this time from Brad Davies, grabbed a 26-26 tie and three league points in their third game. But even by then Moseley’s tendency to shoot themselves in both feet was apparent.

Missed touches, disorganised kick chases and flimsy tackling invited the Pirates to score two of the softest tries imaginable. While other aspects of their play have ebbed and flowed, being easy to score against has been a constant for the Red and Blacks.

Initially they were porous through midfield, then the gap moved to the outside centre channel and now they are vulnerable out wide, as evidenced by the fact three opposition wingers have scored hat-tricks against them.

Quite rightly Moseley have spent their money assembling a decent pack and acquiring an experienced ten, unfortunately one of the smallest budgets in the league does not afford them the luxury of also recruiting strike runners such as Josh Drauniniu – or even Justin Mensah-Coker.

It is hoped the addition of Bevon Armitage will plug the hole at No.13 and allow the excellent Anthony Carter to return to his eyrie at full-back, from where he can swoop to maximum effect in both attack and defence.

But before we get on to Carter, that pack must be addressed because when Moseley set out on choppy waters, as they do each week at present, they need their fabled front five to perform with the consistency that has earned them their high reputation.

Against London Welsh, Bees and Plymouth they did nothing of the sort, indeed their display in the Albion reverse at the end of last month was little short of negligent. Thankfully they addressed their lack of commitment against Rotherham last Saturday and one hopes they are now caught in a virtuous circle rather than a downward spiral.

About the only player to be exempt from such criticisms is Michael Maltman, the outstanding young flanker who has operated at both blindside and openside.

The 20-year-old eschewed the comfort, kudos and stash of the Edinburgh academy to accelerate his development in the English second tier and he has had a bigger impact than even Ryan Wilson did last season.

Maltman’s work-rate is an example to his peers and whilst he will never be a classic nose-over-the-ball No.7, his efforts at the breakdown, support running and defensive solidity mark him out as a young man who belongs at a higher level.

In the backs it has been Carter who has led by deed. The 29-year-old arrived from Doncaster in the summer to fill the void left by Andy Binns 12 months previously. He has done just that.

Not only has he been a rock in defence, he is also the club’s leading try-scorer and seems to mesmerise tacklers with his shuffling gait and ability to create, then slip through seemingly-non-existent gaps. His fitness is a massive priority for the next 11 weeks.

And even more so for the six beyond that when it seems likely the direction of his club will be up for negotiation unless they can rein in Bristol, Nottingham and Rotherham and nip in front of one of them in the table. Not impossible but not probable either.