Moors boss Mark Yates named an attacking line-up ahead of Tuesday's clash at Torquay United. Not only was there a change in personnel but also in the system as Moors adopted a 4-3-3 formation for their trip to the English Riviera.
A forward-thinking midfield three saw Joe Sbarra and Jamie Ward sit either side of skipper Kyle Storer. Up top, striker Kyle Hudlin was recalled to the side. The towering frontman flanked by wingers Ryan Barnett and Justin Donawa.
The backline of Cameron Coxe, Reiss McNally, Tyrone Williams and Jordan Cranston remain unchanged from the side that lost narrowly to Bromley at the weekend. With Hudlin leading the line, Adam Rooney dropped to the bench as did James Ball and Mitch Hancox.
MINUTE BY MINUTE REPORT
A lively start from the hosts brought the best out of Moors keeper Ryan Boot, who made a brilliant fingertip save to divert Asa Hall’s header over the bar.
At the other end, Ward showed a burst of pace to get to the byline but nobody in a Moors shirt gambled on his centre.
But then the Gulls struck. Jake Andrews whipped in the free-kick, Boot tipped it onto the post but it appeared to then hit the Moors stopper before rolling across the line.
Unfortunate for Yates’ men who had competed well from the get-go. Andrews fired in another free-kick a moment later but this time Boot watched it safely into his arms.
A bizarre turn of events then saw a change in the officials as referee Robert Massey-Ellis was forced from the field of play, replaced by the fourth official.
Then as play resumed, Torquay almost doubled their advantage. A long punt from keeper Lucas Covolan saw Scott Boden bearing down on goal. But Boot made himself big, doing just enough to put the striker off and Boden saw his lobbed effort bounce wide.
A similar ball from Storer almost had Ward in behind but Covolan rushing out of his goal, improvised well to head clear.
It was then Moors with the direct approach. Hudlin’s flick-on from Boot’s clearance had Donawa racing through. The Bermudian looked to poke it past Covolan but the keeper spread himself well to smother.
Then an even bigger chance escaped the visitors. In the area, Hudlin prodded the ball into Ward’s path, but with just Covolan to beat, he drilled his shot wide.
A telling moment as Torquay hit their second less than a minute later. Adam Randell coming onto a cross at the back post, steered his shot into the back of the net.
It was a tough blow for Moors who’d started to grow into the game but who had it all to do as they went into the break trailing by two.
HT: Torquay United 2-0 Solihull Moors
Callum Maycock was introduced at the break as Yates looked to inject energy into the midfield and Moors did set about their hosts after the interval.
Donawa almost latched onto a ball over the top, again Covolan was alive to the danger and then the winger was inches away from connecting with a Storer free-kick.
Moors were pressing and Donawa had another chance, improvising he worked an opportunity but he couldn’t keep his acrobatic effort down.
The visitors hadn’t found a goal but they were definitely the side in the ascendency, all of the action taking place in the Torquay half.
Substitute Rooney found Barnett who beat his man and dinked a dangerous looking ball into the middle but Covolan did well to claw it away.
Midfielder Ball was the final throw of the dice with just over 15 minutes remaining, as Storer departed the action.
Ball played it to Cranston out wide, his whipped delivery found Rooney whose header beat the keeper but also the post. Although had it found the net, the flag would have denied him.
It was the last action of a disappointing night for Moors who put up a brave performance against promotion-chasing Torquay but ultimately fell short.
FT: Torquay United 2-0 Solihull Moors