Solihull Moors came from behind twice to a earn a point against Sutton United.
Moors fell behind in the first half when Ross Lafayette opened the scoring but second-half goals from Danny Wright and Kyle Storer, either side of a Tommy Wright, secured a point for Tim Flowers’ men.
Sutton United are a side that will test the mettle of most sides in the National League this season. They are one of the most effective teams in the division, a direct outfit that will force any side to stand up to them physically if they want to earn a positive result.
Flowers gave Corey O’Keeffe a debut after the youngster signed on loan from Birmingham City and bringing his Blues team-mate Luke Maxwell back into the starting XI, George Carline and Dan Sweeney the two to drop out.
It meant Moors lined up in a 4-2-2-2 system, Kyle Storer and Darren Carter flanked by Jamey Osborne and Luke Maxwell who played infield. The idea was to stop Sutton gaining control centrally while attempting feed Adi Yussuf and Danny Wright in the channels and play 2 v 2 against Sutton centre-backs Clough and Collins.
It could have worked a couple of times early on but neither side could find their touch in the final third. Instead, it was the graft of Adi Yussuf that brought the first chance about, closing down Butler’s kick and deflecting the ball high into the air. Jamey Osborne volleyed on target but Butler made the save.
That gave Moors a lift and soon after, Danny Wright and Jamey Osborne was getting at the Sutton backline but both failed to hit the target with their left-foot. Darren Carter also tried his luck and a deflection almost caught out Butler.
Despite our good work, it was the visitors that took the lead. Josh Taylor’s cross on the left-hand side wasn’t cleared by efficiently by the Moors backline after backing into Liam Daly, Lafayette controlled and finished on the turn exquisitely.
The momentum of the game swung Sutton’s way but for all their hustling and bustling, the best they could muster was Charlie Clough’s header that failed to trouble Ryan Boot. Tim Flowers’ side found a way back into proceedings but Jamie Reckord couldn’t test Butler.
Moors came closest just before half-time thanks to Adi Yussuf’s brilliance. Corey O’Keeffe’s channel ball found the Moors number 9 whose first touch took him inside of Jamie Collins and whose effort curled just the wrong side of the far post.
The second-half saw Moors step it up. Adi Yussuf was found by Jamie Reckord within two minutes but a last-ditch challenge denied him. Dan Wishart’s corner was knocked wide of the near post by Aaron Drinan a minute before another fine Jamey Osborne run ended with the midfielder lashing the ball just over the bar from 25 yards.
Despite the game opening up after the arrival of Jermaine Hylton, Moors were still struggling to carve out a big chance until Darren Carter’s free-kick hit the underside of the bar. It may have gone in, but in the end, it didn’t matter.
Moors were all over the Sutton backline like a rash and they forced an unnecessary foul on the right-hand side. Carter’s delivery to the back post found the head of Liam Daly who rose high and knocked the ball over Butler and into the six-yard box where Danny Wright followed his centre-halves lead and prodded the ball home.
That gave Moors a huge lift but like Sutton in the first-half, we could only get one notable effort from the minutes that followed, Tyrone Williams’ 30-yard strike well hit but wide. And the moment Moors lapsed, Sutton struck.
It was an annoyingly simple goal. Ross Lafayette got the better of Williams in the air and Tommy Wright got in behind. Liam Daly did his best to cover the ground but Wright’s shot snuck under the leg of the giant centre-back and under the body of Ryan Boot who ought to have done better.
That could have stunned Moors but on 82 minutes, captain Kyle Storer made his mark. Moors did well to keep the ball alive in the area and after Yussuf and Wright both saw shots blocked, Kyle Storer steamed in and hit a half volley that deflected into the top corner.
Once again, the momentum was with the hosts but nobody could latch onto tantalising crosses delivered by Jermaine Hylton, Corey O’Keeffe and Jamie Reckord. When we did have an effort at goal, Yussuf couldn’t get sufficient power. At the other end, Moors received a scare when Craig Eastmond broke away but he lacked the confidence to take the ball closer to goal, instead shooting straight at Boot from 25 yards.
The full-time whistle was cause for cheers amongst the Solihull contingent. After defeat at Fylde on Tuesday night, it would have been easy to accept that Sutton United was another game we weren’t expected to get a point from. But once again, the leadership and quality of our side shone through. If anything, Sutton were the side fortunate to leave with a point.
The 2018/19 season is still in its infancy but to earn 10 points from our first five games is no mean feat, particularly given the opposition.
Bring on Harrogate Town.
Starting XI: Boot; O’Keeffe, Daly, Williams, Reckord; Storer, Carter; Osborne, Maxwell (Hylton); Yussuf (Sweeney), Wright. Unused: Willock, Carline, Murphy.
MOTM: Liam Daly. Sutton’s big ploy was to hit Ross Lafayette and play off him. Daly dominated him throughout.