Date: 22nd March 2018 at 8:31am
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Solihull Moors won for the first time in March with a 2-0 victory over Bromley.

The Moors started the game strongly and scored through Kwame Thomas. The game turned into a scrappy affair from that point with defences on top until injury-time when Alex Reid secured a huge victory.

Thomas and Reid switched places in the squad for this one, Thomas used on the right-hand side of the front three with Reid left to wait from the bench. Notably, Bromley made five changes to their starting XI with the game sandwiched between their two-legged FA Trophy semi-final against Gateshead.

Those changes perhaps helped Mark Yates’ side who were determined to make up for two hugely disappointing results against Gateshead and Torquay United.

Thomas was certainly up for the game, his headed flick finding Yussuf who couldn’t connect with his attempted strike on goal before the Moors number 17 was found by Jamey Osborne, only Tyrone Sterling denying his goal-bound effort on the goal line.

Set-pieces were causing a problem and after Yussuf failed to connect cleanly with Kelleher’s header, The Moors took the lead. Darren Carter’s free-kick was pinged towards the back post where Liam Daly leapt highest, his header prodded home from close range by Kwame Thomas, justifying his manager’s decision to restore him to the starting XI.

From there, the game became scrappy. Yates was sufficiently concerned by Bromley’s wide players to move to a 4-4-2 for periods, Jamey Osborne moving wide left and Yussuf playing alongside Jermaine Hylton in attack. However, with the midfield now outnumbered, The Moors struggled to keep continued possession, allowing Bromley a way back in.

Bromley’s first notable chance came through Charlton Athletic loanee Brandon Hanlan but he couldn’t find a way past Max O’Leary after escaping behind the Moors backline. Adam Mekki later hit a rasping effort that thankfully fell the wrong side of the post. And that was it for the rest of the first-half.

There was an early spark in the second half, Jamey Osborne unable to find the target with two efforts from the edge of the area either side of Luke Wanadio’s sliced effort that Max O’Leary had little trouble collecting.

Both sides were playing their fourth match in the space of 11 days and clearly feeling the weight of their efforts, so much so that both sides felt fresh legs would help, Ipswich loanee Shane McLoughlin replacing Frankie Sutherland for the visitors before Paul Green took Jamey Osborne’s place to good effect.

On 66 minutes, Adi Yussuf ought to have wrapped the game up. Kyle Storer’s ball was cleverly dummied by Jermaine Hylton leaving Yussuf through on goal. Having escaped his marker with ease, he bore down one vs one with keeper David Gregory but shot straight at him. A huge chance gone begging.

Jamie Reckord saw his free-kick deflected wide of the far post and from the resulting corner, controversy reigned when David Gregory dropped the ball and picked it back up outside of his area. Gregory curiously escaped a booking and when Liam Daly eventually took his free-kick, it was blocked from about two yards away. The ball eventually ended up with Hylton who shanked his effort wide.

That was that for a while. Alex Reid and George Carline replaced Jermaine Hylton and Adi Yussuf while ex-Birmingham City centre-back Roger Johnson was used as a striker for the final minutes, Liam Daly dominating the man he used to support from the stands at St.Andrews.

When sides in form face sides lower down the table, it’s often the case that they nick a goal late on, undeservedly undoing all the hard-work their opposition has put in before it. When Brandon Hanlan’s powerful strike deflected the other side of Max O’Leary, the keeper stood like the rest of us, watching the ball thankfully fall just the right side of his post.

As if that wasn’t enough, Hanlan had another fine chance late on. McLoughlin was found on the right and delivered a sensational cross that was begging to be attacked. Hanlan escaped his marker but rose too early, unable to connect cleanly with his header.

Bromley continued to punt balls forward with Moors wasteful on the counter-attack. Then right at the death, we finally secured the all-important second.

Darren Carter had just about got back to his feet after a poor challenge from Wanadio and didn’t look best pleased when Kyle Storer played the ball to him. Still limping, he managed to settle on his right-foot before hoofing a hopeful ball into the air with his injured left.

Alex Reid was alone in attack but put the pressure on full-back Luke Wolfenden whose back-pass was short, David Gregory decided to move towards his goal rather than close down Alex Reid who saw his opportunity and took it beautifully, lobbing the ball over the keeper and into the back of the net.

Pretty much every Solihull Moors player ran towards the on-loan Fleetwood Town striker to celebrate, a sign of the unity amongst the group and the sheer relief at earning three points. The final whistle blew almost immediately and victory had been secured, one that put us level on points with Barrow and Hartlepool United.

Beat Halifax on Saturday and we can drag a whole new group of clubs into the relegation scrap. What a job Mark Yates, his coaching staff and players are doing.

Starting XI: O’Leary; Williams, Kelleher, Daly, Reckord; Osborne (P.Green), Storer, Carter; Thomas, Hylton (Reid), Yussuf (Carline). Unused: K.Green, Lait.

 

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