Date: 10th September 2017 at 3:56pm
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Solihull Moors remain in the bottom four after a 1-0 defeat at home to Macclesfield Town.

Darren Carter had The Moors’ best chance but saw his spot-kick saved eight minutes before Scott Wilson scored the game’s only goal.

A hard-fought game full of endeavour but often short of a final ball or finish leaving McDonald pleased that his team dominated the second half but lamenting tiredness and the inability to finish chances.

The gaffer made two changes for this one, Ben Fox replacing the suspended Zain Westbrooke while George Carline’s injury paved the way for Kalern Thomas to start, the full-back starting on the right-wing with Tahvon Campbell on the left.

Moors started the game sloppily, perhaps struggling following Tuesday’s endeavours. Wilson had the first effort two minutes in while Keith Lowe tried his luck a few minutes later, Nathan Vaughan getting hold of both.

Darren Carter’s free-kick hit the wall in a lively opening. Wilson cut the ball back for midfielder Danny Whitaker who fired over from close range under pressure from Shepherd Murombedzi.

Tahvon Campbell and Oladapo Afolayan ought to have done better when played in by a Macclesfield midfielder and Ben Fox respectively, neither getting their first touch right to finish. At the other end, Nathan Vaughan was forced into a superb save at the far post to deny Wilson from close range.

Afolayan’s snapshot was saved by Shwan Jalal, Courtney Richards hit the side-netting while Mitch Hancox was wide of the mark with two long range strikes. Joel Kettle couldn’t quite turn home Carter’s deep free-kick, the half ended with Wilson heading over from a Richards long throw.

The second half started in a similar fashion, both sides carving out half-chances but rarely threatening the box, Campbell firing way over the stand and Whitaker’s effort blocked. Then came the key moment for the hosts.

Oladapo Afolayan was getting some joy on the right-hand side and after two successful dribbles, the third was halted illegally. Penalty. Joy turned to despair, however, when Darren Carter’s penalty was saved by Jalal to the keeper’s right.

The despair turned to misery on 62 minutes. Shortly after Kalern Thomas had rounded Jalal only to put the ball into the side-netting, Wilson opened the scoring by dropping his shoulder and just squirming a shot beyond Vaughan.

Oladapo Afolayan could have won a second penalty but his appeals were waved away due to Kalern Thomas’ attempt which was not too far away. Tahvon Campbell then fired way over the bar after initial good work.

Controversy then ensued with Kieran Kennedy receiving a booking. Now Zain Westbrooke was sent off on Tuesday for one stud showing at around ankle/low shine height. Kennedy came storming in on a wet surface with a boot almost waist height and received a yellow. Really?

Wilson almost stole a second after Vaughan took too long with his kick, thankfully his shot was deflected wide. Ben Fox’s free-kick was headed straight at Jalal by Jordan Liburd before Fox tried himself from 30 yards, denied by the fingertips of the Macclesfield number 1.

And that was pretty much that. A game with plenty of shots, plenty of huffing and puffing but short on real quality. To say we ‘deserved’ defeat would be wrong given the efforts of the players but the visitors did perhaps just edge proceedings. One momentary lapse unfortunately cost us.

There were reasons for the defeat. For starters, McDonald is seriously lacking options on the bench at the moment with Dunkley the only forward available alongside a holding midfielder, two centre-backs and a keeper. Injuries are playing a part in that – Ashley Sammons, Chris Lait, Luke Benbow, Simeon Maye and Jermaine Hylton all remain unavailable while Zain Westbrooke will miss the next two matches through suspension.

However, this was mostly positive. Liam Daly and Nathan Vaughan have offered real security in defence since returning to the starting XI and it allowed us to attack with a few more numbers. Then there has been the decision to add Murombedzi’s athleticism and composure in the middle of midfield alongside the vastly-experienced Carter. And Afolayan remains a danger to any opposition.

A frustrating loss but McDonald and his players are slowly getting to grips with the demands of the National League.

Starting XI: Vaughan; K. Green, Daly, Kettle, Liburd; Murombedzi, Carter; Thomas (Dunkley), Fox, Campbell; Afolayan.


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