Braintree Town 0 Solihull Moors 3
Moors Turn Up The Heat On The Iron (Report From John Clothier)
A sunny day in mid Essex welcomed Moors as they arrived at the Cressing Road Stadium - only our second visit but this time 3 coach loads of supporters also made the two-and-a-half-hour journey. Moors were at full strength apart from the missing Tyrone Williams out with a pulled muscle and Jermaine Hylton, hoping to return from injury, who was withdrawn after pulling up in the pre-match preparation. BT were there to televise the match live.
Moors' start to the match was nothing but sensational. Corey O’Keeffe was clattered in the first minute and from the free kick Danny Wright’s knock down was cleared amongst a melee of legs. Wright then put a defence splitting pass across the goal line just eluding Adi Yussuf some four yards out. Jamie Reckord was hurt after a late tackle from Gomis but referee Dale played advantage as Matt Stenson unleashed a stinging 25 yarder which was parried by debutant keeper George Legg. The parry spun up just as Wright powered in with Legg stranded but the header cleared the bar.
Kyle Storer dinked a clearance straight back into the box but Legg was equal to Liam Daly’s header. Darren Carter, Osborne and Reckord combined for a scintillating move down the left flank resulting in the latter putting a pin point cross across the goal line but again Solihull could not find the simple tap in. Osborne blasted over the bar from 20 yards.
Moors continued to pound the ”iron’s” defence and Alex Gudger was almost home seizing on a long Osborne throw with an angled shot from 6 yards which was deflected for a corner.
All of this with just eight minutes on the clock!
Braintree’s first meaningful assault on the Solihull goal come on 10 minutes as they broke down the left flank finding Pattisson near the six-yard box who flashed the ball across Moors goal. If nothing more, it signalled the start of a far more even contest.
Osborne put in a trade mark run down the left wing but there were no frontmen to convert his low cross. At the other end Gabriel worked his way down the near side and his dangerous cross landed on the cross bar – Ryan Boot was, however ready to tip it over should the need arise. Carter's free kick on 26 minutes caused mayhem in the Braintree box but again Moors failed to produce the killer punch. A long throw from Osborne was flicked on by the head of Daly but met the same fate. The Iron’s Luke Allen got on the end of a free kick but cleared the bar as Boot advanced to quell the danger.
Moors might well have taken the lead on 33 minutes when Osborne drilled the ball through the Braintree defence leaving Yussuf with a one on one with Legg but the shot stopper saved from close range. Two consecutive Solihull corners failed to break the deadlock and a free kick to the hosts just outside the box went harmlessly for a corner.
Moors could not complain at it being goalless at half time but they had spurned at least three clear chances which on another day might well have painted a different picture.
Whatever Manager Flowers said at half time it certainly worked as within 30 seconds of the restart Solihull were one up; Wright challenged for a long ball from midfield and it spilled to Yussuf who held it up as his strike partner ran into the box - collecting the return ball Wright beat two defenders before delivering a low shot into the corner of the net. 0 – 1.
On 52 minutes Moors were awarded a penalty as Ellul brought down Osborne just inside the box. Yussuf put a low drive into the corner of the net just beating Legg who had guessed correctly. 0 – 2
Storer went close on the end of a Carter corner but the match was effectively put to bed just before the hour mark; Solihull broke quickly from defence and when the ball fell to the feet of Yussuf he found Stenson on a run who smashed the ball low beyond the keeper and into the back of the net. It was his first goal for the club following his recent transfer. 0 - 3
Stenson did his best to return the favour on 67 minutes when collecting Carter’s pass, he crossed the ball to the Moors marksman but Legg saved well.
Tim Flowers made a double substitution on 73 minutes with Luke Maxwell and Kwame Thomas on for Storer and Stenson and shortly after, it was George Carline on for Yussuf. With Moors playing possession football the final minutes were uneventful although Osborne flashed one over, Wright came off worse as he tussled with Legg and Braintree were awarded a free kick, whilst Carline put a dangerous cross over from the left side but Legg did well to clutch it from the air. Gomis had the last try for the hosts with a 25-yard speculative effort but Boot, having a quiet day, read it well.
Reckord hobbled off in injury time but with all the substitutes used, Solihull saw out the final moments of the game with ten men.
Braintree certainly made a fight of this match and look far better than their league position suggests. The Essex hospitality was again enjoyed by the travelling fans.
The win moves Solihull up to fourth in the Vanarama National League , four points behind leaders Leyton Orient. Next Saturday, Moors entertain high flying Salford at the Automated Technology Group Stadium K.O.3.00 pm.
Vanarama Man of the Match Jamey Osborne
Boot, Reckord, Storer © (Maxwell), Daly, Gudger, Osborne, Carter , Yussuf (Carline), Stenson (Thomas), Wright, O’Keeffe.
Subs not Used: Flowers, Murphy.
Report from John Clothier Photos Courtesy of Tom King