Solihull Moors’ unbeaten start to the season ended with a 3-1 defeat at AFC Fylde’s Mill Farm.
Fylde, the top scorers in the National League last season, scored twice in the opening 20 minutes thanks to goals from Danny Rowe and Andy Bond, the latter fortuitous to say the least.
Moors responded at the start of the second half through Luke Maxwell but Gime Toure sealed the victory for the hosts.
Tim Flowers was able to welcome back Jamie Reckord following the left-backs suspension with Darren Carter moving back into the centre of midfield but Jermaine Hylton was deemed unavailable meaning a first ever National League start for the lively Dan Sweeney.
It took just four minutes for the hosts to take the lead with Moors failing to heed the warning that Danny Rowe should not be given an opportunity to shoot under any circumstance.
Joe Cardle got a bit of luck as he burst inside two Moors defenders before finding Rowe. Daly and Williams were almost on the six-yard line as Rowe controlled and found the bottom corner with aplomb.
Moors’ response was quick with Darren Carter almost making the most of a one-two with Danny Wright, the experienced midfielder failling to find the target on the run.
Fylde weren’t about sitting on their lead and captain Andy Bond was the catalyst, hitting three efforts at goal in the space of six minutes. The first was a weak effort on his left foot from the edge of the area after good work from Francois-Angol and his second was the result of a sharp move that ended with a powerful effort straight at Boot. Effort number three will be remembered for a long time.
When Kyle Storer is charging at you, you have to be prepared. Bond is experienced and certainly prepared himself. He was preparing to ride the challenge, maybe take a dig at Storer in the process as the Moors captain ran in for the challenge. Bond was on the halfway line and lashed at the ball.
It ended up in the top corner of Ryan Boot’s net. The keeper had no chance. Storer and Osborne could only look at one another, the latter with a wry smile on his face as he comprehended what he had just witnessed. Bond celebrated. His team-mates followed. The National League Goal of the Season campaign is already over. Bond has won.
It was almost three on 24 minutes when Ryan Boot parried a Rowe effort back into the danger zone, Jamie Reckord thankfully getting back just in time to deny James Hardy a tap-in.
Dan Sweeney was replaced by Luke Maxwell a minute later and the burly midfielder almost had made an immediate impact, muscling his way through two defenders before feeding Carter whose effort lacked sufficient power. Either side of the strike, Carline caused panic with two long throw-ins that were nodded wide by Danny Wright after some suspect defending.
Moors were very much in the game and only a fine Jay Lynch save denied Adi Yussuf a goal all of his own making while Jamey Osborne stung the palms of the ex-Salford City goalkeeper. At the other end, Danny Rowe almost produced made it two spectacular goals, a curling left-footed strike narrowly missing the far top corner.
Flowers needed something early in the second half if his side were to get something from the game and Luke Maxwell provided it two minutes after the break. Despite Andy Bond seemingly preparing to suplex the giant on-loan midfielder, Maxwell snuck away from the goal line to prod home Carter’s corner from close range.
It was a much-needed boost and Moors could have equalised but Wright couldn’t get a clean opportunity despite the best intentions of Yussuf, twice, and Williams. The game was becoming stretched and a counter-attack led to Bond finding Cardle whose shot was deflected behind for a corner.
The Fylde captain was involved once more when his cross was headed by Carter into the path of the lively Hardy, the winger denied by a fine Boot save. A minute later, Maxwell’s driving run and cross found Yussuf who couldn’t head on target.
Despite a strong opening to the half, it was Fylde who got the all-important third goal. Carline, Storer, Carter, Daly and Williams all desperately attempted to take the ball from Francois-Angol and Hardy but nobody succeeded, the latter finding the former for an effort on goal that was stopped by Boot. Jamie Reckord was on hand for the clearance but the ball took a strange spin that fell perfectly for Gime Toure. Reckord and Boot had no chance. Fylde were 3-1 up.
The goal didn’t deter Moors despite their chances of a result slipping away. Williams thought he had equalised two minutes later but was denied by the referee’s whistle while on 76 minutes, Jamie Reckord received a clever back-heel from Maxwell before seeing his effort hit the inside of the post and roll into the arms of Lynch. When your luck isn’t in…
It was two chances apiece in the final five minutes, Ryan Boot twice saving to deny Saphir Tasdemir and Gime Toure with both unmarked in the area while at the other end, Yussuf couldn’t hit the target after being found by substitute Jordan Murphy and Jamie Reckord respectively.
The final whistle meant a first defeat of the season for Tim Flowers and Solihull Moors but it was a performance that suggested this group can take the game to good opposition. A little more sharpness in and around the box and we can get the better of sides in these games.
Our first defeat doesn’t damage us. It’s not a game we expected a result from and everybody is aware how strong AFC Fylde are. The big test will be the response from the players when Sutton United turn up at the ATG on Saturday.
Nine points from four games. It’s not been a bad start.