Moors Lose To Sutton
Automated Technology Group Stadium
11.11.2017 // 15:00
Solihull Moors' miserable campaign continued with a 2-0 defeat at home to Sutton United.
The visitors had a goal ruled out for offside before opening the scoring through Ross Lafayette and made it 2-0 with moments to go as Craig Dundas made the oceans of space available to him count.
It was another frustrating afternoon's watching for myself and the other Solihull Moors supporters who witnessed a team sticking to the task of trying to disrupt Sutton but offered nothing going forward. It was a little bit too easy.
Gary Whild made four changes following the defeat to Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup First Round last Saturday. Nick Townsend and James Bowen were restored to the starting XI having been ineligible while there were recalls for Fiacre Kelleher and George Carline. Oladapo Afolayan was rested following his England C exploits, Sean St.Ledger has a calf problem while Ashley Sammons and Charlie Bannister dropped to the bench.
With the temperatures decreasing by the week, the hope was that a good display would warm both the heart and body of the supporters and in the first few minutes it looked like we might do so. That was until an early break-in play gave Sutton a chance to focus and they had the ball in the back of the net within 7 minutes, Craig Dundas denied by the offside flag.
The London outfit upped the ante and it was only thanks to Nick Townsend that the score remained level for the time being, the ex-Blues youngster just getting to the ball ahead of Dundas before getting up quickly to deny Ross Lafayette a simple goal.
Moors did have their moments, Jermaine Hylton's pace and quick feet often getting fans off their seats. He did well to force a mistake from Dean Beckwith and quickly played into Asante who was beaten to a ball that would fall for Murombedzi only for the winger to be denied by a last-ditch challenge. George Carline was another obvious threat but his header was comfortably caught by Butler.
It was on the half hour mark that Sutton took the lead and as has often been the case it was a mistake of our own doing. Nick Townsend's first touch let him down and his resulting clearance was shanked to Josh Taylor, though only after Daly miskicked and Paul Green was caught on his heels. The young midfielder had the presence of mind to draw Daly towards him before Lafayette thrashed the ball into the net via a Kelleher deflection.
Townsend redeemed himself somewhat with a fine save to deny Lafayette's diving header before a couple of minutes that suggested it wasn't going to be our day.
Firstly, Hylton found James Bowen whose left-wing delivery was perfect for George Carline and the winger typically rose at the right moment but headed the ball off the inside of the post. Moors reclaimed possession and Bowen was again found, this time his rasping low drive across the six-yard box cleared by a Sutton man. From the resulting corner, Asante's first-time shot was blocked up into the air before being booted away.
There were chances either side of half-time with Townsend out smartly to smother Dundas' effort from a tight angle while Carline cut the ball back for Darren Carter to strike only for the captain to fire over. Kieron Cadogan's awkward left-foot strike was skewed just over while Asante and Carter were only denied one v ones thanks to well-timed Sutton challenges.
The last half hour saw chances few and far between with Sutton content to sit in and make life difficult for Moors before breaking quickly and we never had much of an answer to it as has often been the case this season.
Instead, Lafayette missed a guilt-edged chance from 10 yards out before Dundas sealed the victory late on after another defensive mess. One long ball forward from the keeper, Kelleher allowed Bowen to try and deal with Lafayette's physical presence and the ball was flicked onto Dundas who was always going to beat Daly in a foot race. The finish was clinical.
To say the players didn't try would be incorrect. The game plan was evidently to stop Sutton getting control of the game was a physical perspective and on the whole, we did okay in that regard. There is plenty to nit-pick at with our defensive set-up at times but then you could read our thoughts from several other match reports. Einstein's definition of insanity springs to mind.
The defence can only do so much, however. Our inability to hold the ball up then play leaves the defence under far more pressure than they need to be. We will bemoan individual errors our frustration but they are a consequence of the amount of work they are being put through during a game.
Looking further forward and we are without a goal in three matches now. In fact, I would be hard pressed to select a handful of chances from those matches. We remain extremely reliant on the individual brilliance of Oladapo Afolayan and Jermaine Hylton to create and take chances for us and there is only so much they can do.
The club have advised that they hope to make an appointment within the next week. He's got a hell of a job on his hands.