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Solihull Moors 3 Braintree Town 3
Mighty Moors Take Heat out of the "Iron"
PUBLISHED: 12th Mar 17

Solihull Moors 3 Braintree Town 3 Attendance 556

 

Moors welcomed for the first time ever to the Automated Technology Group Stadium, Braintree Town (known as The Iron) from South Essex, a team which in their history has never been relegated. Moors were without the suspended Jack Byrne and injured Calum Flanagan  but Liam Daly had just about recovered from the injury picked up at Dover. It was a welcome return to the bench for Connor Franklin out since Boxing Day. The pitch was reasonably firm, if not a little bumpy, otherwise conditions perfect for this return clash of two teams in the lower half of the league; Moors had won the away game thanks to a Harry White penalty in added time.

 

Moors started brightly with an Dapo Afolayan crossing the ball into the box  for Regan Charles Cook who could not control the pace but then in an uncustomary lapse of concentration Solihull found them selves a goal down with only 6 minutes on the clock; Braintree were awarded a free kick just outside the box and what looked like a curling cross from Hall-Johnson caught the defence by surprise as the ball sailed over Nathan Baxter and into the net.

Moors seemed to have steadied the ship as they regrouped and should have equalised on 15 minutes when Afolayan unleashed a bullet from 25 yards which was spilled by debutant keeper McNamara but there was nobody there for a simple tap in. That paled into insignificance  on 17 minutes when another Braintree free kick this time from Lee, was flicked  on by Corne and smashed home by top scorer Cheek

Two down from set pieces with little more than a third of the first half played looked like a mountain to climb for Solihull but things were about to get worse; Midson was hauled down in the box by Joel Kettle and referee Johnson pointed immediately to the penalty spot. Michael Cheek duly sent Baxter the wrong way  and with 23 minutes gone Moors were three down.

If there was to be anything salvaged from the game Solihull desperately need to cut the deficit before the interval and their response was immediate;  Afolayan was clattered outside the box and from Ashley Sammons free kick Simeon Maye rose majestically with a powerful header into the back of the net. 1 – 3.

 

Kettle was booked for a needless foul  as the half hour mark approached and Harry Lee’s free kick from 35 yards smashed against the upright and away for a corner. Afolayan  responded with a powerful run  and shot but with McNamara beaten the ball was cleared off the line although Gayle knew very little about it.

However the tide was turning and Daly was just wide from Sammons corner  whilst Kristian Green was robbed after a defence splitting header from George Carline. That said Braintree had the last action of the half after the linesman flagged for a foul in Moors favour but the referee  decided to give it the other way with Lee’s free kick hitting the side netting.

Not the easiest half time talk from Liam McDonald but he told his players to stick to the game plan and the goals would come. Even he would be surprised by what was about to follow as the second half commenced!

 

An early Sammons corner was so close whilst a good run and cross from Murombedzi saw Daly out jumped in the six yard area. Regan Charles Cook took the ball across the 18 yard box but shot over the bar. Afolayan struck from 12 yards but on the wrong side of the post.

 

With Moors starting to dominate mid field  Braintree were reliant on break aways and Baxter did well to save from Cheek on the hour. McDonald swapped Nortey for Omari Sterling James on 64 minutes to bolster tired legs and the impact was immediate as he shot at McNamara but the keeper was well positioned.

Daly was again thwarted by the keeper on the end of another Sammons corner. McNamara foiled Charles Cook’s  effort on the end of Green’s through ball and with 15 minutes to go the keeper was more than equal to Kettle’s powerful header from Sammons free kick. For all their efforts it was still 1 – 3 down for the Mighty Moors.

Daniel Udoh replaced Charles Cook for the last quarter hour but when Maye clattered the impressive Cheek it needed all of Baxter’s agility to keep his side in the running as he dived full length to the far post.

  

With eleven precious minutes left George Carline produced a moment of brilliance as the powerful mid fielder bullied his way passed three defenders  before feeding the ball through to Afolayan who lashed the ball into the back of the net. It was  a stunning strike under pressure with little or no back lift – sensational stuff but just what Solihull needed. 2 – 3.

 

Moors pressure was now relentless and Afolayan was so unlucky to see his 20 yarder skim the wrong side of the upright on  81 minutes.

They did not have to wait long; with 4 minutes left Sterling James was brought down and Carline out jumped the Iron’s defence to meet Sammons’ free kick with an unstoppable header beyond the keeper.3 – 3 and Moors were back!

Three minutes added time was played out uneventfully and the oh so precious point was in the bag.

 It was a stunning come back – the supporters saluted the players and the team saluted the fans  - everyone had played a part in this remarkable game.

  

Liam McDonald was almost breathless at the end of the encounter-“ to concede three goals from set pieces was frustratingly bad for a team which is usually so good in those situations. It was a horrendous start but I told the players at half time that we would open them up. To come back from 3 goals is all down to the spirit in the squad.Our substitutions were instrumental in the fight back

I wondered if it was simply not our day with 20 minutes to go but we carried on right to the end – that is what we are all about. As bad as we were defending in the first half , we were magnificent in the second. It was a good point!”

 

Moors travel to second from bottom of the table North Ferriby next Saturday KO 3.00 pm whilst on the following Tuesday its off to their nearest neighbours Forest Green Rovers in deepest Gloucestershire for a 7.45 KO

 

 

Report from John Clothier      Photos Courtesy of Steve Feeney 

 
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