The spoils were shared in Moors’ pre-season opener at Banbury United on Saturday afternoon.
With fans finally permitted back in grounds, it was the first away day for Solihull Moors supporters since a trip to AFC Fylde on March 7th 2020 – 504 days ago, to be exact!
Manager Neal Ardley took the opportunity to field two separate elevens in each half which included three Trialists and Football & Education duo Jordan Samuels and Niall Rooney on the bench.
Defender Callum Howe returned to action, nine months since his last appearance for the club after spending much of last season on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Skipper Kyle Storer was due to play the opening 45 minutes, but felt a tight groin so wasn’t risked.
Moors were still without injured trio Alex Gudger, Jamey Osborne and James Ball, while Niall Clayton and Ben Usher-Shipway were in isolation – Jordan Cranston was a spectator at the game having just exited a period of isolation himself.
The visitors were set-up in a 4-3-3 formation and were able to carve out a couple of early opportunities via the left-hand side. Harry Boyes and Melis Bushaj combined well before the latter had time and space to pick a cross, but was unable to keep it down for Kyle Hudlin in the centre.
Moments later, Boyes again found space on his left flank and crossed low to Hudlin who made contact and rolled it just wide of the far post.
Then it was Banbury’s turn to up the tempo and eye an opening goal. First, Ryan Boot was called into action as he saved down low before the hosts were unable to take advantage of a breakaway from a corner.
Shortly after, Wreh stung the palms of Boot with a firm strike that was well-saved by the Moors stopper who collected at the second attempt.
However, despite those chances, it was Ardley’s side who broke the deadlock on 37 minutes. Howe’s diagonal ball was collected by Trialist B who took his opportunity to control the ball and fire past Harding.
Despite conceding, Banbury weren’t knocked – they equalised four minutes later as Morgan Roberts weaved his way through the Moors backline and slotted home past Boot.
Half-time: Banbury United 1-1 Solihull Moors
A flurry of changes were made at the break, with only Boyes, Trialist A, Trialist B and Callum Maycock the survivors from the opening 45.
And there was a chance almost immediately for two of those players, with three of the four involved in the move.
Trialist B made his way down the right-hand side and squeezed a way into the penalty area before spotting the on-coming Maycock. His shot was saved, before Boyes followed up and found the Banbury backline standing firm.
Justin Donawa, fresh from international duty with Bermuda, was looking lively and took aim with a strike that had plenty of pace and movement on it, but not quite the accuracy as the effort flashed wide.
There were chances for both sides to nick a winner, with Tom Allsopp in the Moors goal standing firm on a couple of occasions, before Donawa looked to snatch in with three minutes left on the clock. After working the ball onto his left boot, the Bermudian could only skew wide from the angle.
Full-time: Banbury United 1-1 Solihull Moors
Important minutes into the legs for Moors who are back on the road on Tuesday evening, with Stourbridge the hosts this time – kick off for that one is 7:30pm and you can purchase tickets HERE
First-half XI: Boot (GK), McNally, Boyes, Maycock, Howe ©, Trialist A, Sbarra, Trialist B, Hudlin, Bushaj, Trialist C.
Second-half XI: Allsopp (GK), Williams, Boyes (Bushaj 65), Piggott, Preston, Trialist A (McNally 65), Donawa, Maycock (N. Rooney 65), Rooney ©, Trialist B (Sbarra 65), Barnett.
Subs not used: Samuels.