Date: 21st November 2017 at 9:06am
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Mark Yates’ first game in charge of Solihull Moors ended in a 1-1 draw at Maidstone United.

The hosts took the lead barely in a minute into the game through their top scorer Joe Pigott but debutant Kwame Thomas equalised in the second half to give Yates and Flowers positives from their opening fixture.

Three changes were made from the side beaten by Sutton United 2-0 last weekend, Courtney Richards and Oladapo Afolayan returning to the starting XI while Kwame Thomas also started. Jermaine Hylton, Akwasi Asante and Paul Green all dropped to the bench.

Despite the good feeling following Mark Yates, his side got off to the worst possible start as The Stones took the lead inside a minute. Fiacre Kelleher’s attempted headed clearance inadvertedly played in Joe Pigott who raced beyond Liam Daly and managed to poke the ball over the on-rushing Nick Townsend.

Moors improved afterwards but were struggling to carve out any real chances of note. It was almost 20 minutes later when former Hull City youth striker Johan ter Horst came close to doubling the lead. Zavon Hines’ driving run and pass fed the forward in behind yet after rounding Townsend, the ball would not sit down for him on the plastic surface and he scooped the ball off the bar. A huge let off.

Ter Horst came close again a moment later when Liam Daly’s clearance cannoned off the striker and forced Townsend into a decent save. At the other end, Murombedzi had Moors’ first real effort but could not test Lee Worgan, the ever-present in the Maidstone United net.

Pigott thought had his second on half hour only after thrashing home Joe Anderson’s left-wing cross but the offside flag denied him and the half ended with Jai Reason’s free-kick being headed wide by Reece Prestedge.

Yates and Flowers clearly gave the players a kick up the backside at half-time and Darren Carter’s early long range shot gave Moors a boost, Worgan palming awkwardly into the path of Kwame Thomas who was running too quick to control his effort.

Bowen’s long throws caused problems, the first falling to Courtney Richards whose shot was easily saved. His second was flicked on by Kelleher at the near post to Murombedzi whose snap shot was kept out by Worgan.

The game was opening up and spelled danger for the Moors, Lewis denied by Townsend, ter Horst’s free-kick being fired over and Jai Reason’s backheel gave Loza the chance to strike over the bar.

On 64 minutes, Solihull Moors were level. Courtney Richards was first to a loose ball and he found Carline who in turn fed substitute Asante over the top. Asante controlled and fired a half volley at Worgan whose save squirmed away from his body and into the path of the lively Thomas a couple of yards out. He could not have missed.

Townsend was forced into action again to deny Pigott from a low cross before the game hit another lull. Zavon Hines opened Moors up brilliantly with 10 minutes to go but fired wide of the far post while Lewis’ cross found Anderson free at the back post.

It was actually The Moors who had the last couple of chances, Kelleher firstly having two bites of the cherry after winning the first and second ball at a corner kick before Carter found Asante only to see the effort blocked.

Perhaps not the perfect start but Mark Yates will be happy to see his side get a result in their opening game. This is arguably the toughest job he has faced in management but if the players continue to respond in kind, we have every chance of avoiding the drop.

Getting a result away at 5th place Maidstone United is a decent start.


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