Date: 1st October 2017 at 8:36pm
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Liam McDonald was left echoing his regular sentiments following yet another late defeat, this time at the hands of Dover Athletic.

Despite another impressive performance in which his side had several chances and defended quite stoutly, Ryan Bird’s header nine minutes from time left all of a Solihull Moors persuasion gutted.

Our hosts on this Saturday afternoon were bidding to go top of the division after a flying start to the campaign. A tough and direct outfit, The Whites have thrived despite wholesale changes this summer but Moors’ draw with Dagenham and Redbridge last week meant spirits were high and proved we are no mugs despite our lowly position.

George Carline was restored to the starting XI after injury replacing the excitable Wes McDonald, the gaffer surely delighted to see a range of quality attacking options on his bench in the form of Simeon Maye, Ben Fox, Tahvon Campbell and McDonald.

Playing in front of over 2500 fans inside The Crabble Athletic Ground, it was Dover that started the stronger of the two sides, Bird firing high and wide early on before Mitch Brundle scuffed an effort wide. Moors responded through Carline and captain Darren Carter but neither could find the target.

Nathan Vaughan was the first goalkeeper really tested in the game, palming over Mitchell Pinnock’s whipped free-kick over the bar. Josh Passley fired over while Brundle, a livewire throughout, saw his shot deflect kindly into the path of the Moors keeper.

Vaughan’s kicking has proved a rather useful tool and he almost sent Shepherd Murombedzi in on goal only for opposite number Mitch Walker to make the ball first. The ever-present Moors number 7 then sent a shot over the bar a minute.

Carter’s shot from distance was spilled by Walker, Richard Brodie flicked-on a throw-in that caused a few problems before Afolayan found Murombedzi whose shot was saved. Nil-nil at half-time but a positive opening.

Dover started the second period as they began the first, a low cross causing problems for the visiting defence while Brundle’s free-kick was flicked on forcing Vaughan into action. Joe Payne did his best to turn things in Moors favour but a driving run ended with a weak finish from 20 yards.

Pinnock latched onto a long ball but was denied by the long legs of Liam Daly. A Dover mistake almost led to a Moors opener but Walker was alert to deny Kettle a header from a couple of yards out before being similarly alert to stop Brodie’s low cross reaching Maye in the six-yard box. Murombedzi had two efforts on goal but neither troubled Dover’s number 1.

Whites captain Brundle drove through the middle of the pitch, his shot deflected wide by Kettle. It was the start of some pressure that would result in the Dover goal, Passley’s dangerous cross headed clear by Kristian Green.

On 81 minutes Moors failed to deal with a cross from the right. Femi Ilesanmi laid the ball to Paul Lewis who had time in the area to control the ball and pick out the right pass. He crossed to the back post where Joe Payne was beaten to the ball by the powerful Ryan Bird who couldn’t miss from barely five yards out.

The Moors through everything at the game late on, Liam Daly slicing wide on the half-volley. The giant defender headed back towards goal from a Payne free-kick with George Carline leaping highest, as usual, only to see his header hit the back of a Dover head and kindly for Walker to collect.

In injury-time Carter couldn’t curl home a free-kick before a last-minute corner saw Nathan Vaughan race up field excitedly. He won the header but unfortunately it ended up closer to the stands than the goalmouth.

McDonald spoke candidly as always, frustrated by another defeat in which we have gifted a goal to the opposition having failed to take our own opportunities. He did talk highly of his players, however, following another tireless display in which they deserved more.

It’s McDonald’s positivity that has kept spirits high amongst fans over the last few weeks. It’s clear what kind of side he is trying to build and more displays like Dagenham and Redbridge and this one will surely reap rewards sooner rather than later.

The next challenge is a home tie against Ebbsfleet United, a huge chance to get a result.

Starting XI: Vaughan; K.Green, Daly, Kettle, Payne; Muromebdzi (McDonald), Carter, Richards (Campbell), Carline; Afolayan (Maye), Brodie. Unused: Liburd, Fox.


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