A second consecutive 1-0 victory saw Solihull Moors rise to 18th in the National League table.
The result, which saw us leapfrog opponents Maidstone United as a result, came courtesy of Tyrone Williams’ first goal since joining from Kidderminster Harriers in January, the defender also helping his side keep a fifth clean sheet in a row.
Liam Daly’s late red card against Hartlepool United meant that Williams was moved into the centre of defence alongside Irishman Fiacre Kelleher for the game. George Carline filled in at right-back with Kristian Green, making his first start since the 1-0 away defeat to Ebbsfleet United in February, slotting in at left-back for the injured Jamie Reckord.
The rest of the side remained the same and it appeared to be business as normal when Jamey Osborne skipped down the right-hand side, his low cross just evading the boot of Saturday’s hero Adi Yussuf.
Max O’Leary showed just why he has been so highly-rated during his time at the club, producing a fine stop at the feet of a Maidstone forward after initially palming away a testing cross. Chances were few and far between but a good move from left to right ended with Jermaine Hylton’s low shot being deflected wide.
It was the resulting corner that produced the goal. Jamey Osborne and Darren Carter worked a short corner well and Tyrone Williams was on hand at the back post to slot home the former’s drilled cross.
This wasn’t a game for the neutral with neither side getting hold of second balls in the opposition half, allowing defences to reorganise before the next attack. Adi Yussuf’s powerful run ended with the side-netting almost being removed from the post while Lee Worgan was down quick to deny Kwame Thomas.
Jay Saunders’ clearly wasn’t impressed and elected for two half-time subs but his side ought to have been 2-0 down when Yussuf played Hylton in on goal, the forward’s chip bouncing off the top of the bar.
Hylton was involved in everything good about our attacking play early in the second half, his trickery presenting a chance for Jamey Osborne whose nutmeg was followed up by a curling effort just wide of the post. He then showed the extent of his pace by beating Worgan to a loose ball, the keeper thankful that last-man challenges are no longer automatic red cards.
After Adi Yussuf was foiled by Worgan after a brilliant counter-attack, The Moors began trying to run the clock down, frustrating a Maidstone side who couldn’t sustain attacks. Their approach became more direct as the game continued but Yates’ much-changed backline stood firm, Kelleher in particular winning all of his aerial duels up against the powerful Delano Sam-Yorke.
Such organisation almost resulted in a second goal, Jamey Osborne deciding to try his luck only to be denied by a deflection then in injury time, Alex Reid found himself through on goal only to be denied by Worgan under pressure from a recovering defender.
The Moors held on quite comfortable in the finish and earned another huge three points. Barrow’s victory over Eastleigh means the gap remains at three points but with Woking and Maidstone United both below us in the table, it feels like there is a bit of breathing space.
The job is not complete. We play Guiseley at home on Saturday with the expectation being three points yet again. Until we are mathematically safe, we cannot play on the odds of those below us failing to win – we have to continue to do our job.
And what a job we are doing.
Starting XI: O’Leary; Carline, Williams, Kelleher, K.Green; Osborne, Storer, Carter; Thomas, Yussuf (Sterling-James), Hylton (Reid).