Barrow 1 Solihull Moors 2
By Matt Roberts
Fortune Favours Brave Moors by John Clothier
Barrow have made the best possible start to the new season with nine points from three home games. Moors have struggled to emulate their home form on their travels and although the “Bluebirds” sat three points below Solihull at the start of this match, Tim Flowers was at pains to point out that this would be the hardest of games – and so it proved to be.
Barrow had the first meaningful attack on four minutes when in form striker, Tyler Smith split Moors defence with a precision pass to Waterston but the flag went up for offside. Solihull retaliated with a Jamey Osborne corner but in a packed box Jermaine Hylton swivelled and shot but the ball was cleared.
On 11 minutes Barrow broke down the left flank with Jamie Reckord timing his tackle perfectly but the Bluebirds were straight back as Rooney again opened up the Solihull defence, although Smith could not make the connection for a simple tap in. Hylton again tried to make space in a packed box but the eventual shot was deflected into the arms of keeper Firth.
Rooney found Smith in space on the right but Moors back four held their line and the flag was up for offside. Almost immediately Smith was attacking again but Gudger proved too strong as he shielded the ball for a goal kick. Adi Yussuf, back at Holker Street for the first time since his transfer last season, met Jamey Osborne’s corner but the header bounced down and over the bar.
Osborne was then involved in a messy tackle for which he was penalised by referee Hull but saw the Moors play maker writhing in pain – Manager Flowers quickly replaced him with Jordan Murphy coming on, but it was clear that the midfielder was in a bad way and we await a report on the severity of the injury.
The hosts were now bossing the middle of the park and Moors could only count themselves fortunate just past the half hour mark when Smith once more got through but was marginally offside. However, Barrow could so easily have gone in front as Rooney’s low 25-yard free kick smashed against the upright but straight into the path of Smith who hit the woodwork for the second time in as many seconds.
With the first half ending Hylton put a short pass back to Carter who instinctively lobbed Firth but the keeper produced a finger tip save to push the ball over. Murphy’s corner was headed wide by the marauding Liam Daly. Yussuf put Hylton through for a one on one but Firth reacted more quickly.
Barrow had the last of the action with Rooney’s effort deflected for a corner from which Burgess pinged one in from outside the box, but Ryan Boot was ready and waiting.
Goalless at the interval was a little harsh on the home side but the grim determination from Moors defence certainly played its part in the score line.
Barrow were straight back at Moors as play resumed; Burgess put Smith through, but he was quickly closed down whilst Boot then thwarted Taylor’s effort. Moors were looking brighter with Hylton’s shot going for a corner and a move started by Daly saw Kyle Storer put in a looping cross, but Danny Wright’s header was wide. Good work from Murphy saw Hylton again stopped in the box.
Tim Flowers brought on the powerful Luke Maxwell on 58 minutes in place of Carter, a change that was to be proved inspired later on, but it was Barrow’s Jack Hindle who next had a chance to turn the game only to see his shot smash against the cross bar but thankfully away for a goal kick.
Barrow’s Man of the Match, nineteen-year-old Oldham loanee Luke Burgess, continued to cause problems with his skill and direct runs at the Solihull defence and on 63 minutes he dribbled his way into the area before dinking the ball to Kay forcing a point blank, one handed save from shot stopper Boot.
Moors were, however, playing with confidence and you sensed that the pendulum could swing the other way at any moment; Yussuf was close with a lob on 68 minutes after a good pass from Wright whilst Maxwell’s screamer was blocked after brilliant work from Hylton.
With George Carline on for Danny Wright on 75 minutes the remaining piece of the jigsaw was in place. Jamie Reckord’s cross was punched away by Firth at full stretch but it fell to Maxwell 12 yards out who thundered it into the back of the net. 0 – 1 to Moors with six minutes of normal time remaining.
Carline’s cross on 87 minutes was inches away from Yussuf but Moors the doubled their advantage with one minute to go; on another overlap down the left flank, Reckord put a peach of a pass from the by-line straight to Yussuf who coolly converted from close range. 0 – 2 and the traveling Army could hardly believe it.
The game, however, was far from over. At the exact moment as the PA announced there would be five minutes added time, Smith curled a low shot from 18 yards and the hosts had renewed impetus - 1 – 2.
With a minute of the game left Barrow were awarded a penalty as Reckord fouled Burgess just inside the area. There was no arguing with the referee’s decision and the inspirational Rooney stepped up to hopefully save a point from the game.
The shot was blasted at Boot but was well over the cross bar – Moors were home 1 – 2!
The win gives Moors 16 points from 8 games and leaves them sixth in the table tied with Harrogate, Halifax Leyton orient and Fylde, all just one point behind leaders Wrexham.
It will be another tough week for Solihull as they travel to 5th placed Leyton Orient on Tuesday and host 7th placed Hartlepool next Saturday.
Supporters Man of the Match Luke Maxwell
Boot, Williams, Reckord, Storer ©, Daly, Gudger, Osborne (Murphy), Carter (Maxwell), Hylton, Wright (Carline). Subs not Used; Sweeney, O’Keeffe.
Report from John Clothier - Photos Courtesy of Tom King