Date: 16th October 2017 at 6:25pm
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Solihull Moors were held to a shock 1-1 draw against ten man Ossett Town in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup.

Facing one of the lowest ranked sides left in the competition, Shepherd Murombedzi put Richard Money’s side on course for a victory until Corey Gregory equalised before half-time. Gregory was later sent off for the visitors but The Moors were unable to capitalise.

Money made three changes from the side that were beaten by Hartlepool United the previous Saturday as Charlie Bannister, Jermaine Hylton and Chris Camwell made first competitive starts for the club, Nathan Vaughan, Tahvon Campbell and Wes McDonald all missed out.

The warm-up suggested the pressure was off the players ahead of this one, Liam Daly typically at the centre of the jokes. However, once the game started it was evident that Ossett would not give us the win lightly.

It took five minutes for the first home chance, Jermaine Hylton deft touch playing in Kristian Green whose low cross was cleared away before Carline could score. Roles were reversed when Carline found Green but his effort was blocked while Murombedzi couldn’t find the target from distance.

Despite the early chances this was not all plain sailing and the visitors almost took the lead on 11 minutes when Martin Pemberton’s driven cross was poked towards goal only for Bannister to stand strong.

With just under a quarter of the game gone, Shepherd Murombedzi scored the opener. It was Oladapo Afolayan’s pace and invention that created the chance, beating Anthony Mackie on the left before teeing up the Moors number 7 for an easy finish.

Murombedzi was up for this one and after latching onto Green’s backheel he powerfully struck just wide of goal before linking up with Hylton on the right, the debutant unable to get his shot away quick enough.

The game livened up towards the end of the half with Kai Hancock beating Kelleher but not Daly, Murombedzi’s good work was not finished by Courtney Richards nor Carline while Afolayan’s low cross was just denied by the keeper.

Then came the hammer blow. After failing to make the most of several chances to clear, Gregory was given all the time he wanted on the edge of the box to control the ball and fire home into the bottom corner. A shambolic goal to concede.

Ossett captain Alex Peterson was a tad fortunate to get away with just a booking for retaliating to Kelleher’s challenge by launching himself through George Carline. The half ended after Hancock struck over the bar from distance.

The second half took a bit of time to get going with just Carter and Camwell getting efforts on goal in the opening 15 minutes. The hosts ought to have gone ahead but Leigh Overton showed his ability by denying Carter’s low drive, Daly’s looping header and Afolayan close range strike within four minutes of each other.

A potential turning point came with 14 minutes left to play as goalscorer Gregory was sent off for a simply awful challenge on Kristian Green, stamping down on the full-back ankle in a sliding challenge.

However, it was not to be for the Moors who tried and tried but couldn’t get the better of our lowly opponents. Jermaine Hylton attempted a cheeky chip that was easily kept out, Green couldn’t test Overton and with few options on the bench Money decided to bring on Joel Kettle and throw Liam Daly up front.

Daly did cause problems, his first action heading down to Murombedzi whose half volley was blocked by Overton’s best starfish impression. Carter then turned on the edge of the box but couldn’t trouble the keeper. The final action came when Carter found Daly at the back post but as was often the case, Overton was equal to the effort.

Looking at the 90 minutes as a whole it was clear that this was a game Solihull Moors dominated throughout but the inability to carve out chances and make life difficult for the back five of a side three divisions below raised concern.

It was often the case that individual brilliance took us beyond Ossett but rarely did we look capable of turning their defence, dragging them out of position and exploiting the spaces in behind. It was all a little too easy overall, albeit Overton making a couple of superb saves.

With the return leg on Tuesday, Money will be desperate not just to see his side progress but also do so unscathed with the huge tie away at Guiseley on Saturday.


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