Solihull Moors had to dig deep to take home all three points on Tuesday evening with a 2-0 victory over Maidenhead United.
Defender Alex Gudger opened the scoring after twenty minutes with a well worked corner routine to score the only goal of the first-half.
Then a crazy moment from home goalkeeper Dan Gyollai changed the course of the game, he saw red for an elbow, and Josh Kelly dispatched the following penalty to put Moors out of sight on the hour mark.
Ardley’s men cruised home to claim maximum points and leap to third in the National League standings.
The gaffer made two changes from the side that beat Eastleigh 3-0 only a few days ago at the ARMCO Arena.
The suspended James Clarke missed what would have been his 50th consecutive start and was replaced by debutant Ethan Vaughan at right-back.
As promised, Ardley rotated his goalkeeper too, with Ryan Boot dropping to the bench and Louie Moulden handed a first start in three games.
Elsewhere, Kyle Storer’s start meant he reached a major landmark - his 700th career appearance in football - well done Stoz!
Moors began the game on the front foot, Alex Reid spun Remy Clerima in the box before the Maidenhead defender managed to recover and poke the ball away for a corner kick.
It was the hosts, though, who looked the brighter of the two sides in the opening 20 minutes.
Sam Barratt continually delivered dangerous corners into Moulden’s near post area, but the Moors keeper dealt with them well.
The crucial moments of the half came in, and around, the twenty-minute mark.
First, Maidenhead were desperately unlucky not to take the lead when Reece Smith’s thunderous half volley rattled Moulden’s post - the Moors ‘keeper was rooted to the spot as the ball whistled by him to no avail.
Immediately after, Moors struck the first blow, from a corner, Gudger snook round to the far post and head back across goal, his effort kissed the post on the way in and rolled tantalisingly over the line.
The game, in truth, was a scruffy affair throughout, Moors went close on a couple more occasions before the break as Callum Maycock’s volley sailed over the bar before Ben Coker’s free kick tested Gyollai. It wasn't to be though, as Moors took a slender advantage into the interval.
Half-time: Maidenhead United 0-1 Solihull Moors
After a couple of half chances for Maidenhead, it was a moment of madness from Gyollai that decided the game just past the hour mark.
With the ball in hand, and Barnett in his proximity, the ‘keeper flung an elbow at the Moors man and caught him in the face. The referee raced to the incident and awarded a penalty and a red card to the Maidenhead shot stopper.
For the second game in succession, Josh Kelly stepped up and calmly rolled his penalty home into the bottom left.
With no substitute ‘keeper on the bench, midfielder Sam Upward was handed the responsibility between the sticks. He made a couple of comfortable saves in the final thirty minutes, to great cheers from the home crowd.
Moors would perhaps say they didn’t test him enough after that. Joe Sbarra went closest with a 25-yard blast cannoning the inside of the post without finding the back of the net.
Despite that, Ardley’s side dominated proceedings with the numerical advantage late on, and took all three points back down the M40.
Full-time: Maidenhead United 0-2 Solihull Moors
Solihull Moors: Moulden (GK), Coker, Storer (c), Gudger, Sbarra, Maycock (Jones 80), Barnett (Parsons 80), Kelly, Kelleher, Vaughan, Reid (Dallas 64).
Subs not used: Boot, Whelan.