Solihull Moors 2 Braintree Town 1
By Luke Turner
Moors Take All Three Points to Level with Orient.....writes John Clothier
Moors have played Braintree Town three times previously winning both the away games and drawing the one home fixture. With Leyton Orient on FA Trophy duties and the other play off contenders all hoping to claim maximum points from their games, it was essential that Moors did not slip up against the “Iron” but the opposition, buoyed by an impressive away win last Tuesday at Sutton, were full of confidence and the match had all the hall marks of a banana skin!
Tim Flowers was able to field the same team that took maximum points mid-week against Gateshead apart from Terry Hawkridge coming in for Jamey Osborne . The pitch was in perfect condition but there was a strong wind which would present difficulties.
Moors quickly showed their intent when Darren Carter curled in an early corner but Nathan Blissett’s header was cleared off the line by ex-Moors midfielder, Courtney Richards. Carter then put a defence splitting low ball across the box but it eluded everyone.
Jermaine Hylton beat the off-side trap as he collected the ball on the left flank, turned his man and put in a low right footed shot but in form keeper Ben Killip saved with his legs. Carter followed up but his effort from the edge of the box cleared the cross bar.
For the opening half of the first period it had been all Moors but on 22 minutes a defensive lapse gifted the opposition with a goal; Richards rode two challenges down the right but when the assistant referee flagged for a foul in Braintree’s favour, the Moors players stopped only to realise too late that referee Doughty has played the advantage - Richards slipped the ball though to Korrey Henry who rounded Ryan Boot for the simplest of goals. 0 – 1.
Moors continued to press forward. Lee Vaughan put in a terrific cross but there was a foul in the area, Jamie Reckord’s ball into the box was headed straight at Killip whilst Carter got on the end of a clearance from a corner and found Blissett in space but his shot was deflected around the post.
Kyle Storer lobbed the ball into the six-yard box but Killip saved well under pressure before Jamie Reckord tried his luck from 25 yards but went wide. With 10 minutes of the half remaining Vaughan charged down the flank and Danny Wright met the cross but clipped the cross bar and away to safety.
The relentless pressure finally paid dividends on 38 minutes; Moors were awarded a free kick some 25 yards out and Carter curled a perfect ball to the far post where the marauding Liam Daly produced an unstoppable header from close range to level the score 1 – 1.
Iffy Allen replied with a strike from just outside the box but it was straight at the waiting Boot whilst Carter did the same at the other end but it was deflected over the bar. Two minutes of added time saw the industrious Hylton through for a one on one but his lob over Killip was off target
1 – 1 at half time was certainly a saving grace for Moors after conceding the soft goal earlier.
Moors continued on the front foot after the interval with Danny Wright going close from Reckord’s through ball. The Iron retaliated but Borg’s 25 yarder provided Boot with a comfortable take. Vaughan’s low effort went for a goal kick whilst Terry Hawkridge put a pin point pass to Blissett but he could not capitalise . Another Carter corner found Wright but his header was cleared. Carter had a go from 20 yards but it was just over the bar. A long throw from Vaughan was picked up by Hylton but under pressure he could not get a proper shot in.
Braintree had the opportunity to catch the home side on the break on the hour mark when Eyoma put Cameron James through but the shot was over the bar – a reminder if one was needed that this match was still in the balance.
Storer’s quick free kick almost paved the way for a second goal but Hylton shot wide after a pull back from Hawkridge. Manager Flowers decided it was time for fresh legs and Hylton made way for Yussuf on 65 minutes.
Carters 35-yard free kick was met by Wright who swivelled but shot wide, Blissett blasted high as Moors kept up the pressure whilst the second substitution saw George Carline replacing Danny Wright. In the absence of Osborne, long throws had been missing from the Solihull armoury but that was about to change.
The break through arrived in the 79th minute; Yussuf was through for a one on one with Killip and there was a thunderous collision between the two as the keeper rushed off his line. It was clear that Yussuf was first to the ball and Mr Doughty immediately pointed to the penalty spot. Killip was down for a few minutes whilst the Braintree physio worked his magic and although Yussuf was first up, it was clear that he was hurt. Nevertheless, he dusted himself down, coolly sending Killip the wrong way and Moors into the lead.2 - 1.
Blissett still had time to add to the tally but he shot wide from within the six yard area, whilst Carline beat three defenders as he charged through the Iron’s defence before being dispossessed. That almost counted for nothing as Boot failed to deal with a long back pass but after a few heart stopping seconds it was cleared to safety.
Four minutes of added time changed nothing and a relieved Moors secured all three points in a game that did credit to the visitors despite their perilous place at the foot of the National League.
With Salford, Fylde, Wrexham and Harrogate all winning there is little change at the top of the League placings but Moors, still in second place, are on the same number of points as leaders Leyton Orient who have one game in hand and a slightly better goal difference.
Next Saturday Solihull visit FC Halifax Town who we have already played three times this season in various competitions – we have drawn two and edged one. This will be a physically hard match and our matches against the Shaymen are invariably settled by the single goal,
Media Access Solutions Man of the Match Terry Hawkridge
Boot, Reckord, Storer ©, Daly, Gudger, Hawkridge (Maxwell), Carter, Hylton (Yussuf), Blissett, Wright (Carline), Vaughan. Subs Not Used; Williams, Stenson
Report from John Clothier Photos Courtesy of Tom King