Moors were cruelly denied a place in the FA Cup Third Round after an enthralling encounter at Morecambe ended in a 4-2 extra-time defeat on Saturday. In a rollercoaster tie, Moors took their League Two opponents all the way but as in previous seasons, they lost out on a place in the next round by the narrowest of margins.
It all began well for the National League side as Kyle Hudlin who started the season with step seven side Solihull United, gave Moors a fairytale start. The teenager showed a predatory instinct to be alive to the rebound after Jordan Cranston’s long-range strike was spilt by Shrimps keeper Jake Turner.
Jimmy Shan’s side then had a succession of chances to double their advantage, but the score remained at one as the sides headed into the break.
A slender lead and one which was soon cancelled out by Cole Stockton’s sublime first-time volley, which left Ryan Boot rooted to the spot early in the second half. And shortly after, Boot was again picking the ball out of the net when Stockton bagged his second of the game.
Morecambe appeared on top but then a lightning-quick Moors breakaway orchestrated by Cameron Archer saw Jordan Cranston tuck home an equaliser against his former club.
But try as they might, Moors couldn’t find a winner and extra-time ensued, the hosts stealing a march on Shan’s men via John O’Sullivan’s header.
Moors showed fight but from a Morecambe corner, the unfortunate Mitch Hancox saw the ball ricochet off him and into his own net. That proved to be the telling blow and the final act of an edge of the seat thriller, one which brought to an end Moors’ FA Cup journey.
Full Match Report
The visitors started brightly, towering forward Hudlin making himself a real nuisance to the Shrimps backline. And it was the 6ft 9 striker who put Moors into a deserved lead, pouncing on Turner’s parry to turn the ball into an empty net.
No sooner had Moors scored the opener, than they almost doubled their lead, Cranston, unlucky to see his deflected header hit the inside of the post and bounce away.
Morecambe were rocking, as was the woodwork. This time Hudlin’s flick grazed the outside of the post, latching onto a wicked delivery from Hancox on the left. Moments later, the hosts were forced to clear from under their bar after confusion following a long throw, Cranston again involved, his header causing havoc in the area.
Shan would have been delighted by the first-half display. But for all their possession, it was still only 1-0. On the stroke of half-time, Boot was at full stretch to stop Yann Songo’o, a timely reminder for Moors that the game was far from over.
HT: Morecambe 0-1 Solihull Moors
As expected, Morecambe came out fired up after the interval, within the opening minutes, Ryan Cooney saw his header brush the side netting. The Shrimps certainly had the bit between their teeth, just ask Cameron Coxe who was on the receiving end of a heavy challenge from Stockton.
Maybe lucky to be on the pitch, but Stockton then scored a sumptuous volley to bring Morecambe back on level terms. But from the restart, Moors were nearly back in front. Hudlin rounded substitute keeper Mark Halstead but Sam Lavelle somehow cleared his shot over the bar.
It proved to be a vital intervention as hesitancy at the back, cost Moors. Stockton scoring after Adam Phillips had capitalised on uncertain Moors defending. But Moors were not disheartened by the setback and with 20 minutes left on the clock, Archer ran from box to box before laying it on a plate to Cranston to fire home.
The drama wasn’t over there though. In a repeat of Morecambe’s second goal, Moors overplaying in defence gave Stockton a chance but this time he shot narrowly wide. Stockton was eyeing his hat-trick and as the game entered its latter stages, Boot had to get down low to ensure the lively forward didn’t take home the match ball.
At the other end, Archer had breathed life into Moors, the Aston Villa loanee causing headaches for a tiring Morecambe defence. Moors pressed for a late winner but were limited to half-chances as extra time beckoned for the two sides.
FT: Morecambe 2-2 Solihull Moors
As had been the case at the start of the second half, the League Two side started extra-time the stronger and struck early, O’Sullivan looping his header into the net.
Again, Moors weren’t dispirited by going a goal behind, Archer breaking forward was inches away from crashing the ball home with a half-volley from just inside the area. As the halfway point approached, a combination of substitutes Archer and Jamie Ward almost led to a goal, but Halstead came out to smother.
Then, as the second half resumed, the bitter blow. Hancox could do little about the ball ending up in his own goal, a lucky break which gave Morecambe breathing space. James Ball produced a decent stop from Halstead and Kyle Storer flashed a speculative effort wide.
Boot was forced into a flying save to keep the scoreline respectable but in truth, extra-time appeared a step two far who had been starved of football for more than a fortnight. Manager Shan will be encouraged by the performance and there are many positives to take into Moors’ league game at home to Hartlepool on Tuesday night.
FT: Morecambe 4-2 Solihull Moors (AET)