To those questioning exactly how difficult the challenge to survive in the National League is this season, Tuesday provided answers.
In effect, it was Northern League vs Football League. Without Joel Kettle, Kristian Green, Simeon Maye and Jermaine Hylton in the starting XI, the Moors started just three of last season’s squad and were taught a big lesson.
A whole new defence was opened by intelligent forward play, the midfield struggled to control proceedings and in attack we found ourselves relying on either height or the abundance of energy in Oladapo Afolayan’s legs.
Looking at it from a positive angle, after a pre-season in which we were never really outclassed, this was McDonald’s best chance to get a real look at his squad. Tahvon Campbell has since joined and you suspect changes will be made to the starting XI.
Boreham Wood enjoyed a very impressive second campaign in the National League with a top-half finish and a defensive unit to be proud of. Yet they’re opening two games suggest a potential change in the guard as Fylde and Dagenham and Redbridge each put two past the Hertfordshire outfit.
This may just be the game that gives McDonald a starting point in the new season.
Darren Carter focuses on a positive result against Boreham Wood
We were ultimately disappointed to lose the first game of the season against Leyton Orient. We came up against a good team who should not really be down at this level, and they are a strong team with huge experience. We felt we did not perform at the level we are capable of, and we know we can up our game and play better. The goals conceded were preventable and we are clear what we need to work on in training.
There are a lot of matches coming up, they come thick and fast, and the lads want to go and put it right straight away. We have a few things we can take away from Orient and we want to go forward to Boreham Wood and get a positive result – the weekend cannot come quick enough for us.
Boreham Wood Team News:
Boreham Wood are hoping to get quartet of key players back out onto the field this weekend. Danny Woodards and Dave Stephens missed the midweek defeat to Dagenham and Redbridge while Dean Wells and Bradley Ash are yet to make competitive debuts.
Player to watch: Bruno Andrade
Bruno Andrade has struggled for consistency since joining Boreham Wood but his gaffer Luke Garrard has been full of praise for his winger this week, believing he excelled against Dagenham and Redbridge on Tuesday. He should start again.
Solihull Moors Team News:
Liam McDonald will again be without several players for the trip to Boreham Wood. Kristian Green, Simeon Maye and Jermaine Hylton are perhaps the most notable losses while Calum Flanagan, Ashley Sammons and Chris Lait have not kicked a ball for the club since the end of last season. Tahvon Campbell is expected to make his Solihull Moors debut, Shomari Barnwell has joined Lewes for a month.
Player to watch: Oladapo Afolayan
Oladapo Afolayan retrieved possession on the right, drove inside, played a one-two with Tom Tonks then lashed the ball into the bottom corner. It was the moment of genius we needed. And in this division, it’s the special players like Afolayan that give us our best chance of survival.
Match Facts & Stats
Overall record: Played 2; Won 0, Drawn 1, Lost 1; For 3, Against 4, GD -1; Points 1
Most goals: Andrade, K.Smith and Shakes – 1
Worst discipline: Jamie Turley – 1 booking
Overall record: Played 1; Won 0, Drawn 0, Lost 1; For 1, Against 3, GD -2; Points 0
Most goals: Oladapo Afolayan – 1
Worst discipline: Afolayan, Carline, Cullinane-Liburd, Edwards, Murombedzi – 1
Referee: Alan Dale
A search for Alan Dale online has brought few statistics on his refereeing career but he was an assistant referee for several Football League matches last season while refereeing in the National League South every other week.
Assistant Referees: Gareth Viccars and Oliver Morris-Sanders
Fourth official: Marcus Carmichael
Boreham Wood 1-1 Solihull Moors
Solihull Moors’ next six fixtures:
15/08/2017 – Barrow (H) – 19:45
19/08/2017 – FC Halifax Town (H) – 15:00
26/08/2017 – Torquay United (A) – 15:00
28/08/2017 – Tranmere Rovers (H) – 15:00
02/09/2017 – Aldershot Town (A) – 15:00
09/09/2017 – Macclesfield Town (H) – 15:00