Moors Make It Three From Three
Automated Technology Group Stadium
15.07.2017 // 15:00
Solihull Moors made it three wins out of three in pre-season thanks to an impressive 3-2 victory over League One Walsall.
It was the first chance for the supporters to see new faces at the Automated Technology Group Stadium with over 600 fans turning up for the club's first outing in familiar surroundings.
Having beaten Barwell and Highgate United, McDonald picked a strong starting XI that again featured trialists Jordan Liburd and Will Mellors-Blair. Jermaine Hylton started in attack, Kalern Thomas and Darren Carter also made home debuts, the latter donning the captain's armband.
Midlands rivals Walsall were going to be provide a stern test and it proved as much when youngster Maziar Kouyhar was given space on the left-hand side, turning inside and out before firing low into the bottom corner. A disastrous start as thoughts of last season's 5-0 thrashing came to mind.
The rest of the half was relatively tame, Walsall having most of the ball and they should have gone two goals to the good, Simeon Jackson's low strike beat away by Nathan Vaughan's strong left arm.
McDonald's side did create a couple of chances, Mellors-Blair couldn't quite get away from Matt Preston after the centre-half miskick sent the winger through while Hylton sliced a half volley wide of the near post. The major downside to the first-half was an injury to George Carline that saw him replaced by Jack Edwards.
The visitors again started the second half brightly with Joe Edwards thrashing an effort over the bar. It was the Moors who equalised though, Jack Edwards' header from a long Liburd throw hitting the bar and falling kindly for Hylton who could not miss.
Tom Tonks and Tyrese Shade replaced the two trialists with Tonks immediately giving fans a glimpse of his famed long-throw but it was Hylton who put Moors ahead just seven minutes after his first. Jordan Sangha's mishit back-pass fell fortunately for the ex-Swindon Town man who rounded Gillespie and beat two players on the line before eventually scoring.
McDonald was keen to get his substitutes on the pitch with trialist Tristian Dunkley and another, whose name we are unsure of, joining the fray along with Marshall Willock and goalkeeper Matthew Hill.
Dunkley ought to have done better when he beat Gillespie to the ball, proceeding to chip the ball into the stands rather than unguarded goal much to the frustration of Afolayan before a comical moment in which Tyrese Shade, who really has lit up pre-season so far, produced a fine turn on Nicky Devlin. We are not sure whether it was Shade himself or a team-mate but the call of 'see ya' had fans on the sidelines giggling.
Joe Edwards equalised with a rasping effort that bulleted straight through Hill before Moors' eventual winner, Tonks' low free-kick taking a deflection that pushed the ball into the net. Joel Kettle claimed it so we'll give him the goal.
It's Burton Albion up next on Tuesday at the ATG as Moors look for four wins out of four.
Starting XI: Vaughan; Liburd (Tonks), Kettle, K.Green, Thomas; Maye, Carter (Trialist); Mellors-Blair (Shade), Carline (Edwards), Afolayan (Willock); Hylton (Dunkley)