A TV debut, consecutive hat-tricks, FA Cup glory and Bignot’s final league game – October was busy!
Played 6; Won 3, Drawn 0, Lost 3; For 9, Against 8, GD +1; Points 9 Position: 15th
Maidstone United 2-4 Solihull Moors
In short: Two for two on 4G pitches as Sterling-James beauty and Asante hat-trick seal victory
Starting XI: Vaughan; Fagbola, Daly, Gough, Franklin; Byrne; Murombedzi, Beswick, Osborne, Sterling-James (Knights); Asante (White)
Goalscorers: Sterling-James (Osborne), Asante, Asante (Osborne), Asante (Beswick)
Solihull Moors 4-0 Southport
In short: Moors’ TV debut ends in glorious 4-0 victory thanks to another Asante hat-trick
Starting XI: Vaughan; Fagbola, Daly, Gough, Franklin; Byrne; Murombedzi (Knights), Osborne, Beswick, Sterling-James; Asante
Goalscorers: Asante (Daly), Sterling-James (Osborne), Asante (Beswick), Asante (Byrne)
Aldershot Town 2-0 Solihull Moors
In short: Moors’ five game unbeaten run ended by The Shots
Starting XI: Vaughan; Fagbola, Daly, Gough, Franklin; Byrne; Murombedzi, Osborne (Brown), Beswick, Sterling-James (Knights); Asante (White)
Solihull Moors 3-1 Kettering Town
In short: Brown at the double as Moors secure FA Cup First Round spot for first-time ever
Starting XI: Vaughan; Fagbola, Daly, Gough, Franklin; Byrne; Murombedzi (Dielna), Osborne (Jones), Beswick, Sterling-James (Knights); Brown
Goalscorers: Beswick, Brown (Murombedzi), Brown (Sterling-James)
Debutants: Eddie Jones, Claude Dielna
Solihull Moors 0-3 Tranmere Rovers
In short: Referee nightmare gifts Tranmere victory in front of record attendance
Starting XI: Lewis; Fagbola, Koue Niate (Asante), Daly, Franklin (Gough); Byrne; Murombedzi, Osborne, Beswick, Sterling-James (Knights); Brown
Solihull Moors 0-1 Forest Green Rovers
Starting XI: Lewis; Fagbola, Koue Niate, Daly, Gough; Byrne; Jones (Franklin), Dielna (Murombedzi); Knights; Asante, White
In short: Bright display ends in defeat thanks to Daly’s own goal as Knights sees red
Braintree Town 0-1 Solihull Moors
In short: Bignot’s final league game won by late Harry White penalty
Starting XI: Lewis; Fagbola, Daly, Koue Niate, Franklin; Murombedzi, Osborne, Byrne, Sterling-James (Jones); Asante (White), Brown
Goalscorers: White (p)
7 – Akwasi Asante
5 – Andy Brown
3 – Omari Sterling-James, Harry White
2 – Ryan Beswick, Jamey Osborne
1 – Liam Daly, Jordan Fagbola, Shepherd Murombedzi
2 – Ryan Beswick, Liam Daly, Darryl Knights, Jamey Osborne, Omari Sterling-James
1 – Akwasi Asante, Andy Brown, Jack Byrne, Connor Franklin, Jordan Gough
The National League was always going to see Solihull Moors break a numerous number of club records and also create a number of ‘firsts’. October will be remembered for most of them.
Solihull Moors contrived to win consecutive football matches for the first time in the fifth tier, Akwasi Asante scored the clubs first and second hat-tricks at this level, we played, and won, live on television for the first time ever, made the FA Cup first round and broke our home attendance record thanks mostly to Tranmere Rovers.
It was also the month in which Vital Solihull Moors was created, inevitably the highlight of everybody’s season!
We made the trip to Maidstone United on the opening day of the month desperate to avoid an eighth consecutive game without victory, however our hosts were gunning for a first home victory since the second week of the campaign.
4G pitches are becoming quite the asset for non-league clubs to bring in these days and the Moors evidently enjoyed playing on them having dispatched Sutton United on their own ‘turf’ on the opening day.
After Maidstone opened the scoring, the Moors equalised gloriously, Shepherd Murombedzi riding two challenges before finding Jamey Osborne wide right. His cross looped over everybody to find Omari Sterling-James at the back post who produced a nonchalant first-time side-footed volley into the top corner. A fine opener.
Akwasi Asante then made the game all about him. He firstly nipped in ahead of Dan Sweeney’s attempted to pass to win a penalty that he dispatched confidently into the bottom corner. Ryan Beswick then won possession and found Osborne whose first time pass sent the burly striker racing through on goal to score his second.
Dan Sweeney’s bullet header restored belief in the hosts but captain Beswick was having none of it, winning another tackle high up the pitch and feeding Asante through to finish the game off.
If Maidstone was good, the following Tuesday would be even better.
Southport turned up having found themselves in yet another relegation scrap and found a ruthless Solihull Moors awaiting their arrival.
The visitors, donning Moors’ away strip for the evening fixture, at least kept the score goalless at half-time but they were put to the sword humiliatingly in the second-half. Asante opened the scoring after 54 minutes when he poked home from Connor Franklin’s long throw. The visitors changed shape but tenacious full-back Neil Ashton seemed to desperate to involve himself in the centre of the action, discarding his own position where Sterling-James lay in wait to rifle home the second.
Victory was sealed four minutes later when Ryan Beswick fed Asante in behind, the result never in doubt from that point and Jack Byrne followed suit in playing the Moors number 7 behind a confidence-sapped defence, to make it consecutive hat-tricks. ‘You’re not fit to wear our shirts’ cried the home end.
One live match on television, one glorious spanking of likely relegation rivals.
The glory days soon came crashing to a halt when another difficult run of fixtures appeared. Aldershot Town, Tranmere Rovers and Forest Green Rovers was hardly a run to expect points from.
The Shots were proving a difficult outfit to tackle on their home patch and a dogged Moors side donning home shirts and away shorts were finally picked off in the second half when Shamir Fenelon took a touch into the area and fired home. Scott Rendell killed the game off after nicking ahead of Vaughan to head home.
A reprieve was sought and Kettering Town at home was just the ticket. The Northamptonshire club have a long list of FA Cup shocks on their CV but are a shadow of their former selves these days. Injury-hit and mid-table in the seventh tier of the game, a full-strength Moors side were always going to be too much.
Ryan Beswick opened the scoring with a free-kick from 20 yards before Murombedzi left Dom Langdon for dead, Andy Brown confidently nodding home his cross. In the second half the Moors number 9 score his second to kill the tie off and send the Moors through to the FA Cup First Round for the first time in their history.
One thing I have noticed this season is that officials have a tendancy to drop some major clangers at this level. Tranmere Rovers, in front of a record crowd at the Automated Technology Group Stadium, were the beneficiary on this occasion.
Right on the stroke of half-time, a long ball over the top had been flicked on by a Moors head sending Jake Kirby in behind to round Nathan Vaughan and score. Pretty standard, only the linesman had raised his flag for offside. The referee did not stop play but confusion reigned as Moors players moving in that direction saw the flag. They should have played to the whistle, yes, but the linesman’s misleading raise of the flag and the lack of communication left the Moors, in particular Jack Byrne, rather angry. And also 1-0 down
Ryan Beswick struck the post in the second half in what would prove to be his final game of the season before more poor refereeing saw the referee give a free-kick against Shepherd Murombedzi for handball when in fact Steve McNulty had handled on the line denying the Moors an equaliser.
The protests were futile and Tranmere sealed a more comfortable victory in the final few minutes, Kirby and sub James Norwood both getting on the scoresheet.
Still reeling from the weekend, Bignot made six changes for the Forest Green Rovers fixture, Eddie Jones and Joel Dielna making their first league starts in midfield flanking Jack Byrne in a diamond system.
Against one of the division’s most exciting outfits on their day, Forest Green were kept at bay by a tenacious home side, Dielna maybe taking things too far when he injured Fabien Robert.
The performance was in vein as Liam Daly’s own goal consigned the Moors to defeat, deflecting Dan Wishart’s cross past Danny Lewis. Worse was to come with Darryl Knights given a straight red for reacting to Kieffer Moore’s unseen kick out by pushing the lanky forward in the face.
Scoreless and pointless in three, Braintree Town away was a game Bignot knew he needed a result from. However, The Iron were built by Danny Cowley to be an awkward, direct and aggressive outfit, something that new manager Hakan Heyrettin was seeking to restore.
Lee Barnard had had the best chance of the game, heading off the bar, until the final couple of minutes when Andy Brown dropped a shoulder and fooled Ian Gayle who fouled the striker. Up stepped Harry White from the penalty spot to seal a much needed three points.
‘Results like today will probably determine what will happen with clubs like ourselves’ coined Bignot after the final whistle. He would oversee the FA Cup first round tie at Yeovil Town then depart for League Two Grimsby Town.
November was all change…