Solihull Moors Women manager David Healey took his team down to Fairford to face a Swindon Town side that are in the equivalent league in their respective Southern Division.
Again, this was to get some games into the legs post lockdown, to give an opportunity to those impressing in the Youth & Junior section and also to try out a few ideas that had been worked on at the training ground.
The weather was high clouds with sunny intervals and the pitch was dry. David was able to choose a fairly strong side, with Kathryn Pagan returning to the starting line-up after previously sustaining an injury at Newcastle. The line-up was as follows:
Whiteman (GK), Ackroyd, Bailey, Bruton, Creaney (C), Trialist, Thompson, Gowlett, Pagan, McDonnell, Jefferies.
Subs: Lau-Mackaay, Lowe, Y&J player.
The Moors won the toss and kicked off. There were some early exchanges in the midfield with neither side gaining a major foothold.
Then, five minutes in, Maisie McDonnell played a through ball and found Lois Jefferies who had a run on goal but the home ‘keeper was equal to the effort.
A couple of minutes later McDonnell pick up a loose clearance and ran to the edge of the box but fired just wide. The match then returned to more of a midfield duel, with few clear-cut chances for either team.
On 17 minutes Swindon had their first real foray into the Moors area with Whiteman pulling off a double save from close range.
McDonnell was again in the thick of the action and with great work in the midfield, fending off a couple of tackles, she found Araina Thompson on the edge of the box whose low shot was just wide of the upright with the Swindon shot-stopper getting the final touch.
There was then a water break where Healey took advantage of using his first set of rolling substitutes. Pagan and McDonnell made way for Jess Lowe and Esther Lau-Mackaay.
After the restart, Thompson was again involved as she passed to Annie Ackroyd who then moved it wide to Ellie Bruton. She found space on the right wing and put a decent cross into the opposition goalmouth but none of the Moors strikers were able to get onto the end of it.
Pagan was then brought back on along with a Youth & Junior player, at the expense of Thompson and Bruton.
The half ended 0-0 with the Moors just about looking the better side. The Moors boss told his team during the interval that he was pleased with the effort the team had put in and it was only a matter of time before they would break the deadlock.
The visitors started the half as they meant to go on and took the game by the scruff of the neck when Jefferies found herself unmarked on the edge of the area, but her shot was again parried by the ‘keeper over the bar for a corner.
Moors imposed their superiority further when Jefferies unselfishly passed to Pagan who then shanked her shot just wide. Pagan then returned the compliment with a ball over the top of the home defenders and found Jefferies unmarked, but again the Moors striker drew a blank as her shot went just wide.
The same pair again found themselves in the opposition area and exchanged passes and brought the stopper off her line before a pass went into the path of McDonnell just inside the area, who lashed her effort into the top corner to break the deadlock.
Moors virtually got the ball back from Swindon from the restart and after running onto a pass, Jefferies rode a couple tackles before unleashing another shot, but again the ‘keeper saved the effort. However, she only managed to parry the effort into the path of the unmarked trialist who slotted it home to double Solihull’s lead.
A fine chance was carved out by the visitors when Ackroyd sent a long ball onto the head of Pagan, but the chance went wide. The Moors front two were rampant throughout the second half and the duo combined to put the final nail into Swindon when again Jefferies found Pagan who managed this time to beat the goalkeeper.
In the dying embers of the game Swindon carved out a couple of chances when firstly Sigourney Gowlett cleared an incoming cross almost off the line. They then did finally manage to test Whiteman in the Solihull goal when they got behind the backline, but the goalkeeper gathered at the second attempt.
The Solihull management praised the performance after the match, with the game plan carried out well by the team. David Healey again singled out the Y&J player for her part in the victory.
Report and Images: Richard King