Blackpool 3 Solihull Moors 2 (after extra time)
By john clothier
So Close For the Mighty Moors
Tim Flowers was able to field his strongest squad for what some supporters had labelled Moors most important game ever – a win would see the Arsenal at the ATG Stadium in the next round. Conditions were heavy following the torrential rain all day.
In the first minute Tangerines captain, Jay Spearing, clattered Danny Wright some 35 yards out and from the free kick Moors were awarded a corner - Darren Carter found Liam Daly in the box but the header down bounced over the bar. Spearing then brought down Jamey Osborne and whilst Alex Gudger got on the end of Kyle Storer’s free kick, there was nobody to take advantage.
It was a good start for Solihull which made Blackpool’s opening goal on ten minutes even harder to bear; Thompson put in a useful corner, far enough away from Ryan Boot but straight onto the foot of Armand Gnanduillet who fired an unstoppable 8 yarder home. 1 -0.
Solihull could not have been closer to equalising when Carter and Storer combined to put Adi Yussuf in a one on one with keeper Howard; Adi turned beautifully and drilled a low effort which was saved by the keeper’s legs.
However, that heralded another break down the left by the home side after a long ball from defence saw Bola pounding down the flank with Moors defence very much on the back foot.; Bola’s cross was inch perfect for the incoming Dodoo who poked the ball beyond Ryan Boot.
Of course, Moors responded in the manner to which we have become accustomed; Jermaine Hylton was causing havoc down the right wing, Osborne was dictating play in the middle of the park and Danny Wright and Yussuf were starting to worry the seasider’s defence.
Yussuf had a chance on 29 minutes when a long throw from Osborne split the hosts defence but he could not properly connect. Two minutes later, however, he made glancing contact with a nod on from Liam Daly after another Osborne throw into the area but this time Howard could not stop the ball from nestling into the far corner of the net. 2 – 1.
Hylton was a whisker away from converting Jamie Reckord’s cross on 36 minutes as Solihull dominated proceedings, although fair to say that Marc Bola was a constant threat down the left flank. Osborne and Yussuf combined well in the box on 39 minutes but the final shot was cleared off the line. 4 minutes of added time failed to see the equaliser but not for want of trying
A one goal deficit at the break flattered the home side but they took their two chances clinically whilst Moors had just the one goal for all their possession.
Moors continued to press from the restart; Osborne’s through ball saw Yussuf bundled over, Tyrone William’s cross was headed away for a corner whilst Wright’s header across the goalmouth evaded the front runners. However, on 50 minutes parity was restored when Alex Gudger whilst chasing a floated 30-yard free kick from Carter, was up ended and referee Haines pointed immediately to the spot- Yussuf hammered a low drive into the left-hand corner. 2 – 2.
Hylton had two efforts blocked whilst at the other end Thompson tried a shot from the edge of the box with Ryan Boot providing a magnificent save. Osborne hit the post on 55 minutes after gliding by two Blackpool defenders whilst Wright and Hylton linked well but the cross was cleared.
With tempers starting to fray just a little, the match was evenly poised, although Moors had far more of the attacking chances.
The battle was now very physical as both teams looked for that elusive third goal. Wright collected a goal kick from Boot with 15 minutes of normal time remaining but despite combining well with Yussuf his shot was blocked. Yussuf went wide after Daly’s nod on.
On 81 minutes Manager Flowers substituted Hylton for Jordan Murphy but as time ebbed away Blackpool were starting to look menacing and a cross from Curtiss Tilt was only just cleared by the vigilant Gudger. Adi Yussuf made way for Kwame Thomas on 88 minutes as we headed into extra time.
Blackpool made a bright start but It was clear that Jamie Reckord was suffering and he moved over for George Carline in the fifth minute of extra time. Luke Maxwell was on for Wright minutes later
The game turned on its head in the 103rd minute when Jamey Osborne was penalised for alleged dangerous play. He was about to clear the ball from a Blackpool attack when Gnanduillet rushed in head down - Referee Haines pointed to the penalty spot – The Moors players and the travelling supporters could not believe it. Spearing put the ball into the corner of the net despite the heroics of Boot who guessed correctly.
3 – 2
Moors gave it everything – not for one moment did their heads drop but there was no way back. Blackpool host Arsenal but our team did us proud against the EFL Division One Club. In fact, they could not have done more.
Tim Flowers must now ready his players for Barrow’s visit on Saturday K O 3.00 pm. Very much back to business in the National League
Boot, Williams, Reckord (Carline), Storer ©, Daly, Gudger, Osborne, Carter, Yussuf (Thomas, Hylton (Murphey), Wright (Maxwell). Subs Not Used; Flowers, O,Keeffe
Attendance 1441 (402)
Report from John Clothier Pictures Courtesy of Tom King