Date: 16th August 2017 at 6:27pm
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Solihull Moors’ home campaign got off to a crazy start as they and Barrow shared the spoils of a six-goal thriller.

Liam McDonald’s side were 2-0 down at half-time before Jimmy Dunne’s sending off. The Moors fought back thanks to goals from Joel Kettle, Oladapo Afolayan and captain Darren Carter before conceding a 95th minute penaly dispatched by Harry Panayiotou.

McDonald made four changes from Saturday’s awful display at Boreham Wood, gifting full league debuts to Daniel Cleary, Tristan Dunkley and loanee Tahvon Campbell. Jack Edwards was also back in the starting XI with Tom Tonks, Afolayan, Paul Green and Luke Benbow all dropping to the bench.

It was evident that the hosts were desperate to prove a point following the weekend’s embarrassment, starting the brighter of the two teams but failing to create any chances of note, Tahvon Campbell’s loose touch from a Jordan Cullinane-Liburd pass the best effort of note.

The first goal arrived on 20 minutes when Connal Trueman failed to deal with Dan Jones’ free-kick. Following a game of pinball, Dave Nieskens ran away celebrating a first goal for Barrow.

Birmingham City youngster Trueman was caught out again for goal number 2, a second Jones delivery proving too sharp for the keeper who was beaten from the halfway line.

The half ended with Campbell firing at Stuart Moore while Carter and Dunkley had both been booked. It proving yet another poor showing.

Things changed in the second-half almost from the moment that Dave Nieskens was booked for fouling Campbell, the forward later ensuring Jones saw yellow too. After Carter’s cross found George Carline to nod wide, the game opened up completely.

Jimmy Dunne saw red on 55 minutes, throwing an elbow into the face of Moors defender Joel Kettle, leaving referee XXXX with no other option but to send the Burnley loanee off. It was the boost those donning blue and yellow needed.

Five minutes later Moors had a goal back, Carter’s right-wing corner being powered home by Kettle.

McDonald decided to up the ante, replacing Dunkley and Edwards with Afolayan and Luke Benbow and it worked his faith was repaid on 69 minutes, Benbow’s low cross fired home by Afolayan.

As if pegging Barrow back was not good enough, Darren Carter thought he had stolen the show. The ex-Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion midfielder played a one-two with Benbow before smashing beyond the reach of Moore to give his side a 3-2 lead. This was remarkable.

The contrast was evident when Kalern Thomas replaced Campbell while forward Bradley Baureess replaced right wing-back Jack Barthram.

Moors continued to fly forward on the counter-attack, Benbow first being denied with a curling effort towards the bottom corner before Afolayan’s powerful strike was tipped over.

Paul Cox and his troops were becoming understandably irate as The Moors started time-wasting in a bid to get the three points but it backfired when in the 95th minute Moussa Diarra and Bedsente Gomis wound up on the floor. Penalty given.

Substitute Harry Panayiotou stepped up and sent Trueman the wrong way.

An ending that left Moors fans distraught despite such a positive response to the sending off, McDonald eluding to it almost feeling like a defeat.

Yet the gaffer was also beaming thanks to a performance that saw Moors ramp up the pressure on one National League’s most effective outfits when the opportunity arrived.

FC Halifax Town are the visitors this Saturday and face a side that has potentially re-discovered its confidence. Not just that, but McDonald has confirmed Simeon Maye, Kristian Green and Jermaine Hylton are all back in contention too.

After a horrible opening couple of weeks, let’s see if this can get our campaign up and running.

Starting XI: Trueman; Kelleher, Kettle, Cleary; Murombedzi, Edwards (Benbow), Carter, Carline, Liburd; Campbell (Thomas), Dunkley (Afolayan).


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