What a way to start the season!
Tim Flowers has shown faith in many of last season’s stars (and rightly so) and was repaid with a comeback that ensured he left Eastleigh with three points in the bag.
It wasn’t easy. Kwame Thomas and new signing Alex Gudger left the field in the first half hour due to injury and keeper Ryan Boot was having the game of his life in goal. Then Paul McCallum put the hosts on 76 minutes.
He didn’t need to worry. Adi Yussuf and Dan Sweeney both scored within seven minutes of the opener and Flowers was left praising his boys for their resilience, courage and morale strength.
The hope is that confidence will be sky-high ahead of Tuesday night’s fixture with Maidenhead United who will be looking to avenge their New Year defeat at the Automated Technology Group Stadium.
Alan Devonshire’s side were beaten 3-1 in their opening fixture against a Gateshead side that have now scored 13 goals in their last three games against the Magpies.
That shouldn’t be a cue for expectations to rise ahead of tonight, however. Maidenhead survived comfortably last season and The Moors need to show the same resilience, courage and morale strength as the National League returns to the home of football.
Tim Flowers is hopeful that Kwame Thomas, Alex Gudger and Danny Wright are fit enough for his side’s first home game of the new campaign.
It’s expected that Wright will start having come off as a precaution but Thomas, who hurt his head and neck early on, and Gudger, who landed heavily on his leg and twisted his knee, could potentially miss the fixture.
Information is sparse on Maidenhead United who are hoping to avenge their opening 3-1 defeat to a Gateshead side expected to struggle this season.
Changes are possible for Alan Devonshire’s side with Adrian Clifton and Herson Alves hoping to make first starts of the campaign.
Opposition player to watch
Ryan Bird will understandably get plenty of attention given his goals for Dover Athletic last year but Harold Otametey is a player that has impressed on the couple of occasions I’ve watched Maidenhead. The leggy midfielder may not be a bruiser but he covers the ground well and doesn’t look poor in possession either.
Solihull Moors 3-1 Maidenhead United.
A fixture of two halves. A New Year’s Day fixture played out on a boggy surface, the referee took the attention in a first half in which several bookings were followed by a straight red for Adrian Clifton and two bookings in quick succession for Jamey Osborne – the first of which was incredibly harsh. The referee received a tongue-lashing from both sets of supporters as he walked off for half-time.
After going behind to a close range Emmanuel finish, The Moors showed something different in the second period and earned a second straight victory that would give the squad huge belief in their bid to avoid the dreaded drop. Oladapo Afolayan’s first goal in three months was followed by Darren Carter’s goal-of-the-season contender. Afolayan secured the victory with a tremendous solo effort to start the new year in style.
Referee: James Oldham
James Oldham will officiate his first ever game in the top tier of non-league football after spending last year in the National League North.
Assistant referees: Andrew Dallison & Scott Chalkley
Fourth official: Simon Brown
Solihull Moors 2-1 Maidenhead United
Solihull Moors’ next 5 fixtures (National League unless stated):
11.08.2018: Aldershot Town (H) – 15:00
14.08.2018: AFC Fylde (A) – 19:45
18.08.2018: Sutton United (H) – 15:00
25.08.2018: Harrogate Town (A) – 15:00
27.08.2018: Wrexham (H) – 15:00