The 3-1 home defeat against Ebbsfleet United was probably the low point of Solihull Moors’ season.
We turned up in good spirits. The 2-2 draw with Dagenham and Rebridge the weekend prior was unquestionably our best display of the season, a good 90-minute display for the first time this campaign and a Tuesday night home tie against Ebbsfleet United seemed like a fantastic chance to get a third victory of the season.
I’ve rarely left a game feeling so low. It was unbearably easy for The Fleet to hurt us, regularly finding themselves one-on-one with Liam Daly in wide areas with Liam McDonald unwilling to change his system to provide more balance to the side. It was a performance that had relegation written all over it. McDonald was sacked the day after, leaving the club in 23rd position.
Fast forward just over four months and The Moors are a completely different proposition. We have won four and drawn one of our last five games, have cut a 12-point gap to safety to one and a much fitter, sharper and stronger unit. Mark Yates has created an environment where everybody works hard, communicates and covers for one another. This side doesn’t give up easily.
We play an Ebbsfleet United side that have won one of their seven league matches, failing to score in their last three and reeling from an FA Trophy defeat to lowly Warrington Town. Still mid-table, they remain capable of opposition but need a change in their fortunes.
Form means little in the National League and the manager of the month curse may not help matters for The Moors. However, confidence in high and we go into another game against Ebbsfleet United anticipating victory.
Fiacre Kelleher has praised the impact of Mark Yates:
“”Since the gaffer`s come in we`ve really worked on our shape a lot and just getting a solid base to start from. I think before he came in, we were just conceding too many goals and he`s really stopped that now.
“We`ve kind of gone on a run now where we`re conceding maybe one goal or zero, so we always knew that if we kept it at one goal then we`ve got the players up top who will score goals. That`s been key, just keeping teams out.”
Ebbsfleet United Team News:
Daryl McMahon is hopeful that Sean Shields can return to the squad for the visit of The Moors. Kenny Clark, Febian Brandy and Darren McQueen are all injured.
Player to watch: Jack Powell
Jack Powell’s decision to drop into non-league could prove an inspired one for his career. After hitting double figures last season, he has already scored 9 in the league this term for the newly-promoted outfit and we’re only in February.
Solihull Moors Team News:
Alex Reid is likely to be in the squad after joining on loan from Fleetwood Town. Kwame Thomas is likely to play for the first time since making his move from Coventry City permanent. Oladapo Afolayan joined West Ham United on deadline day while James Bowen and Chris Lait have rejoined former clubs Hereford and Stourbridge on loan.
Player to watch: Adi Yussuf
As far as debuts go, Adi Yussuf’s wasn’t bad. The powerful forward scored twice against Dagenham and Redbridge and in a side full of confidence currently, he will hope to add to that this weekend.
Match Facts & Stats
Ebbsfleet United – 12th
Overall record: Played 32; Won 10, Drawn 13, Lost 9; For 41, Against 39, GD 2; Points 43
Last six at home: Played 6; Won 3, Drawn 1, Lost 2; For 10, Against 6, GD 4; Points 10
Most starts: Nathan Ashmore – 32
Most goals: Danny Kedwell – 11
Worst discipline: Myles Weston – 5 yellow cards
SOLIHULL MOORS – 21st
Overall record: Played 31; Won 8, Drawn 6, Lost 17; For 32, Against 46, GD -14; Points 30
Last six away: Played 6; Won 2, Drawn 1, Lost 3; For 5, Against 5, GD 0; Points 7
Most starts: Darren Carter – 31
Most goals: Oladapo Afolayan – 11
Worst discipline: Darren Carter – 5 yellow cards and 1 red card
Referee: Alan Dale
National League matches officiated 17/18: 13
Yellow cards produced: 45
Red cards produced: 2
Penalties awarded: 3
Last time in charge of Solihull Moors: Boreham Wood 4-1 Solihull Moors – 12/08/2017
Assistant referees: Paul Lister and Dele Sotimirin
Fourth official: Rick Bloy
Ebbsfleet United 1-2 Solihull Moors
Solihull Moors’ next six fixtures:
17.02.2018 – Dover Athletic (H) – NAL
20.02.2018 – Wrexham (H) – NAL
03.03.2018 – Maidstone United (H) – NAL
06.03.2018 – Bromley (H) – NAL
10.03.2018 – Sutton United (A) – NAL
17.03.2018 – Torquay United (H) – NAL