David Healey took his depleted Women’s squad to face their Norwich City opponents in the latest of their post-lockdown series.
Captain Zoe Creaney and Jess Lowe had to pull out overnight due to illness, so only 14 players travelled.
The starting team comprised of:
Whiteman (GK), Bruton, Ackroyd, Trialist, Doocey, Thompson, McDonnell (Capt), Pagan, Fowkes, Leedham, Redmond-Lyon.
Subs: Development player, 2x under 16 players.
Norwich won the toss and kicked off in a swirling wind and rain showers. In the early exchanges the home side looked to have settled the better of the two teams, but it was Solihull who took the lead when McDonnell, Leedham and Pagan combined down the left. The latter delivered a cross which cannoned off a Norwich defenders’ hip and into the path of the trialist who found herself one-on-one with the keeper, then coolly slotted home on seven minutes.
Not long after the restart Norwich, from a corner, forced Whiteman to parry, but Bruton managed to clear the danger, then shortly after that Norwich rattled the Moors crossbar after another corner.
Solihull then settled in the difficult conditions that were not conducive for good football, with Norwich relying on long-range shots to try and deceive Whiteman in the Moors goal. The Trialist was again in the thick of the action when she pumped a cross into the box and found the head of stand-in captain McDonnell, but her attempt didn’t trouble the Canaries stopper.
After 25 Minutes, Healey utilised the first set of rolling subs by bringing an under 16 on for Redmond-Lyon and a development squad player on at the expense of the energetic Pagan.
Fowkes then set about terrorizing the Norwich defence and got behind them on no less than three occasions, finding herself each time one-on-one with the keeper, but didn’t manage to find the net. Moors went into the break one goal to the good.
Moors kicked off the second half after Norwich had replaced all eleven of their players from the first half. The hosts started the half brightly but after a series of corners where Whiteman was forced to punch instead of catching in the gusty conditions, Ackroyd broke down the left and placed a pinpoint cross into the path of Pagan, who got behind the defence and dispatched home to double the visitors’ lead.
Norwich then tried to get a period of sustained pressure and were camped just outside the Solihull box for about five minutes, but with little return for their efforts.
Moors then turned on the style. Firstly, Thompson picked up a loose ball in the midfield, then found McDonnell who drove forward and again found Fowkes who battled through the defenders in front of her and was again one-on-one with the keeper, and this time kept her composure and found the back of the net.
From this point on it was all Moors with the two under 16 players and Fowkes time after time combining to create some good chances, with each of them getting a least one shot off.
Moors ran out 3-0 winners with David Healey praising his squad for listening to the game plan and delivering it, without their skipper or vice-captain.
He also praised the efforts of the youngsters in the side, Maisie McDonnell for picking up the captain’s armband, and the sterling effort of Ella Doocey playing her first game back after an eight-month lay-off due to injury.
Report and image: Richard King