Eastleigh 1 Solihull Moors 2
Spitfires grounded as Moors Smash and Grab All Three Points by John Clothier
Moors opened their Vanarama National League account at Eastleigh’s Silverlake Stadium on Saturday. It was a baking hot day but thankfully holiday traffic had not made the relatively long journey onerous and Tim Flower’s men arrived in good shape for what is always a tough encounter. So far Moors have played the “Spitfires” four times and it is honours even with both teams having won two and lost two
Tim Flowers was able to name his strongest squad with all players declared fit after the barrage of injuries with resulted from the pre-season friendly the prior weekend against Kidderminster.
As if a wake up call was needed Solihull could have been in trouble within the first 30 seconds as Eastleigh’s Joey Jones unleashed a goal bound twenty yarder which the alert Rayan Boot just tipped over the bar. A set piece saw the resulting corner played back to the lurking Jones who hammered a low shot through a melee of legs but again, Boot was there to save the danger.
Darren Carter’s free kick curled over the bar after Danny Wright was fouled outside of the box but with 12 minutes gone disaster struck; Kwame Thomas and the giant Reda Johnson both challenged for the ball resulting in the Moorsman hitting the ground seemingly unconscious. Thankfully after three minutes Thomas was up but manager Flowers immediately substituted him for Jermaine Hylton.
Moors suffered another blow when Alex Gudger limped off just before the half hour mark to be replaced by George Carline. Eastleigh were now bossing the midfield with Yeates long range effort deflected by Jamie Reckord for a corner before a rasping low drive from low drive from Hare cannoned off the far post. Boot was again alert as the rebound was hammered back by McCallum and a low diving save kept Moors level.
Despite the pressure Moors did have chances; Wright’s speculative effort cleared the bar and Adi Yussuf was unable to capitalise on Carling’s long throw into the danger area. Carter put in another trade mark curling corner, but the Spitfire’s defence were first to it. Hylton was on the end of Reckord’s pass but the shot was deflected for a corner.
It was a relief to hear the half time whistle – it was a goal less first half but that was largely down to the superb performance from keeper, Ryan Boot.
It was a more confident Solihull that battled there way back into the game after the break. Hylton had a chance on 47 minutes, whilst Wright’s dangerous cross was cleared by Boyce. At the other end McCullum’s header could so easily have opened the scoring for the home side but Boot produced another breath-taking save.
Osborne’s cross to Hylton after one hours play resulted in an easy take for Stack between the sticks for the Spitfires.Hylton was caught marginally off side to prevent a one on one.
On 75 minutes a corner to Eastleigh sailed into Moors six-yard area and Yussuf was adjudged to have pushed Gobern resulting in a penalty. McCallum sent Boot the wrong way 1. 0
Did the mighty Moors have anything left in the tank? Indeed they did, and on 80 minutes Yussuf made amends when he picked up the deflection from Carline’s shot and without looking up thundered the ball past Stack for the equaliser.1 – 1.
Whilst the travelling fans hoped we could hold out for a draw, the players went in search of a winner. Manager Flowers had made an inspirational late change when he swopped the tired legs of Wright for Dan Sweeney, and with seven minutes left on the clock Osborne worked his magic in mid field before putting the debutant through for a one on one – he rounded Stack before slotting the ball firmly in the back of the net.1 – 2.
Moors saw out the remaining minutes without problem. Eastleigh provided tough opposition – Solihull withstood the barrage and struck when it mattered most. A great, gutsy team performance and a very happy coach home despite the tired legs.
Moors ready themselves for the visit next Tuesday of Maidenhead KO 7.45 pm. See tomorrow’s preview for the full analysis of what to expect.
Boot, Williams, Reckord, Storer ©, Daly, Gudger (Carline), Osborne, Carter, Yussuf, Thomas (Hylton), Wright (Sweeney). Subs not used; Coyle, Murphey.
Supporters Men of the Match = Ryan Boot and Jamey Osborne
Report from John Clothier Photos Courtesy of Tom King