A Leo Stone hat-trick condemned Solihull Moors to defeat in the FA Youth Cup at Rugby Town on Wednesday evening.
Substitute Andrew Ugwueru equalised for the Moors in fine fashion, but the hosts struck back in the third qualifying round tie at Butlin Road.
The young Moors were eager to build on their 5-0 victory over Evesham United in the last round and came close to opening the scoring early on. Louis Fitzpatrick was inches away from connecting to the ball from a corner kick, as it went agonisingly past his boot.
Rugby were awarded a penalty kick after eight minutes for a handball inside the area. Stone stepped up and saw his effort saved by Jack Myatt who made an incredible double-save, but was beaten at the third attempt as Stone followed in.
Mike Fowler’s side wasted no time in looking for a response, with Mo Conteh flashing a low drive just wide of the mark.
As half-time approached, Niall Rooney tested the home backline as he worked the ball on the outside right and saw a deflected strike go the wrong side of the post and out for a corner.
Half-time: Rugby Town 1-0 Solihull Moors
10 minutes into the second 45, Myatt was at the rescue as he made himself big to save a one-on-one and keep the score line at one.
A double Moors change saw Ugwueru and Zion Nisbitt entry the fray, and the former made an immediate impact.
He threatened once with a strike that had to be saved low by Max Harbin before his overhead kick teed up Conteh whose header was stopped on the line.
A minute later, with an hour gone on the clock, Ugwueru found the leveller with an unstoppable long-range hit that nestled into the far corner to make it 1-1.
However, Moors were on level terms for a matter of minutes as Rugby and Stone scored a second of the evening. The number 10 struck a high-quality free-kick that rebounded off the underside of the bar and in.
Stone completed his hat-trick with a second goal in the space of just three minutes. He found himself in behind the Moors defence and dinked it over the top of Myatt.
Ashton Demulder was sent on in the hope of clawing something back, as Moors continued to push for a goal that may see them back into the tie.
After cutting inside, Leo Wood’s strike found the gloves of Harbin, while the ball didn’t quite drop in the attacking third for Moors who fought right until the end as this season’s FA Youth Cup adventure came to an end.
Full-time: Rugby Town 3-1 Solihull Moors
Solihull Moors: Myatt (GK), Shambrook (Nisbitt 57), Howell, Scott (Demulder 70), Keegan, Fitzpatrick, Conteh, Martin ©, Wood, Evans, Rooney (Ugwueru 57).
Subs not used: Borland, Hawkins, Samuels, Bruck.
Image by Richard King