If Solihull Moors didn’t quite know who 20-year-old Dan Sweeney was prior to the season’s opener with Eastleigh, they certainly do now.
The blonde-haired winger joined the fray on 79 minutes after The Moors had gone 1-0 down at the Silverlake Stadium. A minute later, Adi Yussuf responded before Sweeney made a name for himself by bagging the winner seven minutes from time.
It ensured that Tim Flowers got off to the perfect start in what he hopes will be his first full season in management.
While he may say otherwise, Flowers’ starting XI was predictable – not that it is a bad thing. Ryan Boot debuted in goal behind a defence of Tyrone Williams, Liam Daly, newbie Alex Gudger and Jamie Reckord. The midfield had a familiar look to it with Jamey Osborne and Darren Carter given license ahead of new captain Kyle Storer while in attack, the experienced Danny Wright was flanked by Kwame Thomas and Adi Yussuf.
It was Boot that had the first major involvement in front of over 1300 supporters when he produced a fine fingertip save to deny Josh Hare’s long-distance strike. He was it again moments later when Hare was left free on the edge of the box, his shot looping towards the roof of the net until Boot’s acrobatic intervention.
Moors weren’t at their best in the first half but Darren Carter’s free-kick almost opened the scoring before Mark Yeates took aim on the volley from 30 yards, Boot sprawling to his left only to see the ball fly wide of his far post.
Josh Hare was signed predominantly to help tighten up Eastleigh’s backline but the defender produced another rampaging run after half hour, his shot being tipped on to the post by Boot. Moors had already lost Alex Gudger and Kwame Thomas to injury by this point and were living dangerously. Thankfully, Jamie Reckord was fully fit and defending smartly.
It still didn’t stop the Spitfires who were again ruing Ryan Boot’s fingertips after a fine Josh Hare delivery was headed towards goal by Paul McCallum. Yeates’ teasing delivery was inches away from the forehead of Alex Wynter and Oscar Gobern’s close-range effort was brilliantly blocked with the goal beckoning.
Boot’s selection in the National League Team of the Week was justified further when he palmed away McCallum’s near-post flick in the second half and Alex Wynter’s effort from the edge of the area was deflected wide.
The Moors weren’t entirely at their best and when Adi Yussuf brought down Oscar Gobern in the area during some pulling at a set-piece, we appeared to be getting what we deserved. Paul McCallum stepped up and slotted the ball to the right of Boot.
Dan Sweeney replaced Danny Wright three minutes later and with a bit of luck and a bit of class, Moors turned the tie on its head.
George Carline was in a fine position to pick up a loose ball and decided to try his luck from distance. The shot wasn’t great but the deflection found Adi Yussuf free in front of goal, a chance he wasn’t about to pass up.
Ryan Boot was again on hand to deny Mark Yeates low drive towards the near post and moments later, Moors took the lead. Jamey Osborne spotted the run of Sweeney and his defence-splitting left-footed through ball found the winger through on goal. He took one touch, rounded Stack and slotted home into the empty net for his first goal in a Solihull Moors shirt.
Eastleigh tried to turn things around but Mike Green’s wayward effort was the best they could manage.
One game, one win. Only 45 left to play!