Barnet ran out 2 – 0 winners when the two teams met last October. The “Bees” have between 4/5 games in hand on most other teams and can now eye the play offs with considerable hope. They have been buoyed by a remarkable FA Cup run which saw them beat Sheffield United away from home and eventually go out in the Fourth Round proper away to Brentford after a 3 – 3 home draw.
Moors were without the suspended Danny Wright and Luke Maxwell. Playing conditions were good at the Automated Technology Group Stadium.
Moors were on the back foot from the kick off and within 4 minutes found themselves one down. An attack down the right flank was not cleared and when the ball was then crossed into the six-yard box Wesley Fonguck found himself with a clear shot at goal and gave Ryan Boot no chance.
Moors looked dangerous as they rallied for a quick equaliser but Nathan Blissett’s cross from the right was easily cleared .They were again caught on the break as Dan Sparkes put Shaquile Coulthirst through but a potential one on one with Ryan Boot was averted by Liam Daly’ s perfectly timed tackle. Fonguck, looking for an early brace was denied by Boots diving interception. Boot again foiled Sparkes low drive on 13 minutes.
Having weathered the storm Solihull started to look more menacing; a penalty shout was waived away by Referee Rock after Nathan Blissett appeared to have been pushed whilst Jermaine Hylton’s speculative effort from the edge of the box sailed over the crossbar.
Darren Carter’s curling free kick at the midway stage of the half was headed back across the box by Daly but in the melee none of the front men could make contact. Keeper Huffer saved well from Carters subsequent long-range effort. Lee Vaughan was well placed after the ball was cleared from a packed box but the shot lacked power. Carter’s 25 yarder with 10 minutes to go to the interval was agonisingly inches wide.
Barnet had the chance to capitalise on a break but Alex Gudger thwarted Coulthirst as he powered through.
On 43 minutes Adi Yussuf saw his tap beyond Huffer cleared off the line by Harry Taylor. Carter then unleashed an unstoppable screamer from outside the box which cannoned off the cross bar.
It remained 0-1 at the interval despite a spirited effort by the home side.
Neither manager made any changes for the start of the second half but Moors had to be alert as Barnet sought to repeat the early strike. Vaughan was yellow carded for a foul on the lively Coulthirst and when the midfielder looked for a one on one with Boot, Gudger was there to strongly guard the ball for a goal kick.
Osborne was becoming influential as Moors looked to be the more likely to score; His long throw into the box went begging and the subsequent curling corner was met by Yussuf but cleared the bar. Hylton ‘s cross on 56 minutes had Huffer out of position but neither Yussuf or Blissett could get on the end of it.
On 58 minutes Barnet doubled their advantage; After a defensive mix up, Coulthirst found himself through with nobody but Boot in his path to goal and as the Moorsman rushed out, the ball was chipped over his head and into the back of the net. 0 -2.
Moors are never more dangerous than when the odds are stacked against them and they came back with a vengeance. Matty Stenson and Terry Hawkridge were on for Yussuf and Hylton and when Ashley Charles upended Osborne on a run through the centre of the park, the visitors were down to 10 men.
David Tutonda was booked for a foul on Hawkridge on 73 minutes; Gudger picked up the free kick and his shot was cleared but only as far as the waiting Blissett who tapped in Moors first goal from close range. 1- 2
Stenson in the box shot just wide. Osborne’s 84th minute effort brought out a decent save from Huffer.
On 87 minutes George Carline was on for Carter and the final piece of Tim Flower’s jig saw was in place; Daly was wide as he marauded in the opposition’s box whilst Vaughan put Stenson away but the shot was inches wide.
The fourth official announced there would be six added minutes and in the fourth minute of that, Carline produced a huge throw into the box as in rushed skipper, Kyle Storer, to level the score. 2-2
With the Orient, Salford and Fylde all losing, Moors stay top of the National league two points ahead of Wrexham the only one of the front runners to win today.
Man of the Match: Kyle Storer
Moors: Boot, Reckord, Storer ©,Daly, Gudger, Osborne, Carter (Carline), Yussuf (Stenson), Hylton (Hawkridge). Blissett, Vaughan.
Subs Not Used: Williams, Flowers.
Report from John Clothier
Photos Courtesy of Tom King