Solihull Moors 2 Harrogate Town 0
By John Clothier
Moors Edge Town in End to End Battle
Hot on the Heels of Moors televised draw against Blackpool in the FA Cup, Moors were back in action Tuesday evening against third placed Harrogate Town in the Vanarama National league. Moors stood three points below their visitors at the start of play but with one game in hand, with memories of a 1 - 3 defeat in North Yorkshire back in August.
Jamey Osborne was straight into action in the first minute but his left footed shot was deflected into the arms of keeper, James Belshaw. Matt Stenson’s cross for Jermaine Hylton was just too far for the Moors frontman.
Harrogate were awarded a free kick just beyond the box for a foul by Kyle Storer but Thomson’s effort was easily saved by Ryan Boot. Osborne’s curling free kick on 18 minutes suffered the same fate.
On 22 minutes Moors had the ball in the net as another Osborne free kick was met by the head of Matt Stenson but referee Hulme blew for off side. Solihull continued to press but this time Danny Wright hit the upright as he seized on Jamie Reckord’s low cross. It was Wright again moments later battling his way through the Harrogate defence but the shot was well blocked.
With almost 30 minutes played “Town” had their best attack so far after a spell of pressure; Joe Leesley’s pin point cross was met by Kelvin Langmead but Ryan Boot produced a wonder save to keep the score level. Tyrone Williams then thwarted Langmead ‘s powerful 18 yarder.
With play finely balanced the deadlock was broken nine minutes before half time; an in-swinging corner from the right side but met by a bullet header from Alex Gudger giving Belshaw no chance. 1 – 0.
Osborne flashed a shot beyond the far post as the interval beckoned before a cross from Reckord was headed back across the six-yard box by Stenson but cleared for a corner. Hylton was eventually dispossessed as he dribbled his way towards goal.
One goal to the good was a fair reflection of a half where Moors just about edged play in what was essentially end to end play from both teams.
It was a good start from the visitors as play resumed but Jack Emmett’s volley from the edge of the box was well taken by Boot. Ryan Fallowfield’s cross was cut out by the Moors shot stopper and as Gate continued to pressure skipper Josh Falkingham’s 20-yard effort was just wide of the far post. Thomson was also wide after Harrogate broke from defence.
Osborne was clattered by Callum Howe but Carter’s free kick from just beyond the box was cleared. Stenson swivelled and shot but Belshaw was well positioned.
On 70 minutes Manager Tim Flowers brought on Adi Yussuf for Stenson in an effort to find the elusive second goal. Belshaw did well to clear Carter’s corner on 72 minutes whilst Hylton failed to properly connect after Yussuf had put him threw from a throw in.
Luke Maxwell was on for Carter as the pace of the exchanges continued unabated.
Osborne almost put the ball through the legs of Langmead in an effort to set up Yussuf marauding in the box, but then, with eleven minutes left on the clock, Wright crossed to the big striker only for the ball to yet again rattle the woodwork.
Kwame Thomas replaced Hylton on 80 minutes but the Moorsman blasted over the bar moments later.
Osborne was causing problems for the visitors as he positioned himself behind the front men and when he was brought down just inside the box, Mr Hulme pointed to the penalty spot. Yussuf chose the far corner but despite Belshaw guessing right the low shot was enough to double Moor’s tally. 2 - 0 with five minutes left
Not for a moment did the heads of the Harrogate players drop – they continued to battle right to the end but 4 added minutes did nothing to change the score line.
It was a hard-fought battle between two in form promotion chasers who are now level on points. Harrogate remain third but Moors move up to fifth - a goal difference of two is all that separates the sides
Moors travel to Sutton United this Saturday – they are in eight place in the table. Kick Off is at 3.00pm
Man of the Match Alex Gudger
Boot, Williams, Reckord, Storer ©, Daly, Gudger, Osborne, Carter (Maxwell), Hylton (Thomas), Wright, Stenson (Yussuf). Subs not Used; Carline, Flowers
Report from John Clothier Photos Courtesy of Tom King