Hartlepool United 0 Solihull Moors 1
By Luke Turner
Adi Yussuf Strikes Again as Moors Take the Points at Pools.....writes John Clothier
Moors had lost both home games to Pools but when we needed a result most as we navigated away from what had looked like certain relegation last season Adi Yussuf popped up right at the end to give us a 0 -1 win at Victoria Park (The Super 6 Stadium) . Conditions were fine and the pitch equally good for this game which Moors ideally needed to win to keep their promotion dream on track. They were without the suspended Lee Vaughan and Liam Daly.
It was all Moors in the first half and had it not been for the superb Scott Loach between the sticks for the home side , the points could have been Moors by the interval. Within just 3 minutes on the clock, Adi Yussuf raced down the right flank but the shot was diverted for a corner. A long George Carline throw eventually came back to him and the shot looked destined for the upper corner net but Loach launched himself for a fingertip save.
Jamey Osborne dribbled through the Pools defence but again the shot went for a corner courtesy of Ryan Donaldson; Osborne curled the corner into the 6-yard box for Tyrone Williams to rise majestically to head what looked to be an unstoppable opener for Solihull but Loach saved from point blank range. On 13 minutes Danny Wright opened up the box for Yussuf to pirouette and shoot but the ball was blocked.
With Hartlepool pinned into their half, Jamie Reckord put in a dangerous cross from the left side which Alex Gudger headed down and it just needed a toe poke to find the net – Nathan Blissett fired from close range but Loach’s reaction save kept the score level. Blissett then had a one on one with Loach but arrived fractionally after the ever alert shot stopper.
On 26 minutes Osborne put through a defence splitting cross which landed perfectly for Danny Wright to head home but Loach somehow managed to palm the danger away.
Just passed the half hour mark, Pools made their first meaningful foray into the Solihull box when Luke James crossed to striker Nicke Kabamba and his header looked certain for the top far corner but Ryan Boot was already on his way to pluck the ball from the air. At the other end Carline’s throw caused some panic in the oppositions area but Loach was again ready to quell the danger.
0 – 0 at the interval was hardly representative of the action – one man had stood between Moors and those valuable points!
Whatever Craig Hignett had said during the break it had an immediate effect as both teams went for the elusive goal. The home side were playing to feet and getting into the danger areas but the final third was well handled by the Moors back four. Noble unleashed a thunderbolt but Storer resolutely blocked it whilst Molyneux tried his luck from 20 yards but it was wide. Danny Wright beat the off side trap on 53 minutes but Loach was quickly off his line.
The breakthrough arrived on 58 minutes when Osborne’s corner caused confusion in Pool’s six-yard area – Loach saw the ball late and Yussuf pounced on the spill to find the back of the net from 4 yards out. 0 – 1.
Credit to Hartlepool who went looking for the equaliser; Donaldson was thwarted by Boot on 65 minutes whilst Noble’s deep free kick was headed away for a corner.
Wright needed the physio on 71 minutes and although he looked alright to continue, Tim Flowers decided now was the right time to bring on Jermaine Hylton in his place. Blissett moved to the centre of the attack allowing Jamma to operate on the left side.
It was end to end play as both teams looked for goals. Hylton got on the end of a weighted through ball from Osborne but took it too wide to shoot immediately, although having dribbled passed two defenders, his effort from an acute angle stung Loach’s fingers.
Joe Sbarra replaced Yussuf with eight minutes remaining and still Solihull poured forward; Darren Carter was clattered near the centre circle for a free kick and then Osborne was brought down by Donaldson. Carter’s free kick eventually resulted in a Carline throw into the Hartlepool area and Hylton was inches away from doubling the score. Luke Maxwell replaced Osborne as the final whistle beckoned.
It was a glorious second half exhibition of football from both sides but for Moors alone it was 90 minutes of some of the best play with have seen this season. With Orient dropping two points at home to Halifax but all the other front runners winning, it remains tight at the top of the National League: Salford are top just one point ahead of both Orient and Moors - then come Wrexham three points behind us and Fylde three behind them but with a game in hand.
Next week we welcome Havant and Waterlooville to the ATG Stadium - we had a very tight 0 -1 win at their place back in September but they now find themselves fourth from bottom and fighting for their lives. Kick off is at 3.00 pm.
Attendance: 2981 (72 away fans)
Moors: Boot, Williams, Reckord, Storer, Gudger, Osborne (Maxwell), Carter, Yussuf (Sbarra ), Carline, Blissett, Wright (Hylton). Subs Not Used: Stenson, Hawkridge.
Supporters Man of the Match - Adi Yussuf
Report from John Clothier Photos Courtesy of Richard King