Moors were back to winning ways on Tuesday evening after slotting two past Paul Hurst’s Grimsby Town at the ARMCO Arena.
An early goal from Adam Rooney added to by a brilliant solo goal from substitute Joe Sbarra was enough for Neal Ardley’s men to secure all three points, with debutant James Clarke also claiming an assist on his debut for the club.
Although Grimsby had chances, it was Moors the more composed side in front of goal who managed to see the game out confidently.
Ardley made four changes from the side that suffered the 2-0 defeat against Chesterfield last Saturday, with Andrew Dallas, Callum Maycock and Harry Boyes coming in to the starting 11.
Reiss McNally was deemed fit to return to the squad, while new signing Clarke was straight in for his debut for the Moors.
The match commenced with two early free kicks for both sides. Jordan Cranston stood over it for Solihull, and struck the ball well, just going over the crossbar. Moments later, Lois Maynard found himself in the officials’ book and Grimsby were awarded a free kick of their own.
The match continued with momentum for both sides and it was the Moors who capitalised on this, finding the back of the net in the 7th minute. Clarke bagged an assist on his debut, with his cross finding Rooney who slotted it past a helpless James McKeown.
Moors continued to look a threat going forward, with Ryan Barnett finding space on the right-hand side. He whipped the ball into the box, but unfortunately couldn’t find the head of the arriving Cranston.
Ardley was forced to make an early substitution, with McNally coming on for his first appearance of the season for the injured Callum Howe in the 20th minute.
Moors had a chance to double their lead, with Cranston’s free kick curling into the box, forcing the defender to clear it behind. The visitors had an opportunity to counter moments later, with James Ball being added to the referee’s book for a foul on Michee Efete. Grimsby enjoyed more possession, but nothing was troubling Ryan Boot thus far.
Luke Waterfall had a chance for the visitors just after the 35th minute, but his header didn’t have enough on it and drifted above the crossbar.
Moors were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position, following a great run from Barnett who skipped past the visitors’ defence. Cranston struck it for Moors, but his effort could only reach the wall and was blocked.
Erico Sousa was the first of the opposition to be given a yellow card, following a pull back on Boyes. As the referee signalled three minutes of added time, it was the visitors who looked the more threatening. Whilst Grimsby were awarded two corners, they were both comfortable catches for the Moors keeper.
Half time: Solihull Moors 1-0 Grimsby Town
The second half commenced with a lot of end-to-end action, with both sides making runs but not producing any end product.
Ardley brought on Sbarra for Dallas in the 59th minute in a bid to change that for Moors. It was Grimsby who put Solihull under more pressure, as their substitute John McAtee found himself in the box and struck towards goal, but his effort was cleared.
Shaun Pearson came close moments later, after his header was cleared off the line by Boot. Moors then had a moment of magic through Sbarra who picked the ball up in his own half and began a counter-attack for Solihull. He made his way to the edge of the area and slotted the ball low past McKeown, doubling Moors lead in the 68th minute.
Moors began to find momentum with Barnett having a strike towards goal and his effort running just pass the left post. The visitors were evidently becoming frustrated, with two players being shown a yellow card in the space of a few minutes.
Grimsby had a chance to get back into the game through a corner, but Waterfall’s header across goal was comfortably caught by Boot, who was named Man of the Match shortly after following his assured display.
Ardley’s men managed to see out the rest of the game, dominating the possession and winning a corner in the final minute of added time. They played it short and claimed a well-deserved three points in front of the home crowd.
Moors are back on the road this Saturday, facing Eastleigh, looking to bag another important victory.
Full time: Solihull Moors 2-0 Grimsby Town
Solihull Moors: Boot (GK), Clarke, Cranston, Howe, (McNally 20), Maycock, Rooney, Barnett, Boyes, Ball, Dallas, (Sbarra 59) Maynard.
Subs not used: Osborne, Donawa, Newton.
Attendance: 1,772 (673 away)
Tractivity Man of the Match - Ryan Boot
Report by Millie Frain
Image by Richard King