Solihull Moors win!
Automated Technology Group Stadium
02.12.2017 // 15:00
Attendance: 1118 (585 Moors fans)
Liam Daly's second half header was enough to gift Mark Yates his first victory as Solihull Moors manager.
The 1-0 victory over fellow strugglers Leyton Orient was thoroughly deserved and could have been doubled had Darren Carter tucked away a 90th minute penalty.
Oladapo Afolayan was restored to the Solihull Moors starting XI and was joined by Jamey Osborne who has returned from Grimsby Town for a month. Courtney Richards and Akwasi Asante made way.
Leyton Orient set their stool out from the start hoisting long ball after long ball into the air hoping to win second balls and hurt The Moors where we have so often been hurt in the past. Instead, The Moors were right at it from the start.
James Bowen showed early ambition by letting fly from 40 yards. Jermaine Hylton then headed against the bar with the loose ball just evading Jamey Osborne.
Dean Brill, the Leyton Orient goalkeeper, dropped a free-kick but his defenders' desperate attempts to block goalbound efforts were successful. Oladapo Afolayan couldn't make the most of Darren Carter's through ball and Bowen's left-wing cross found Osborne who was denied by Brill.
Liam Daly nor Kwame Thomas could test Brill sufficiently and there was a feeling that Moors would be sucker-punched as we have been on so many occasions. With Max O'Leary in goal that seems a little less likely, the Bristol City youngster producing a fine fingertip stop to deny James Dayton's dipping effort. Craig Clay saw a shot deflected wide and somehow it was 0-0 at half-time.
The second half continued like the first, Solihull Moors very much on the front foot and making Leyton Orient look like the part-time outfit on the field.
Jermaine Hylton and Jamey Osborne were setting the tempo, quick feet allowing them to find Afolayan whose finishing let him down on two occasions. Jobi McAnuff had a rare Orient chance which was deflected wide.
After an hour, Solihull Moors finally took the lead. It was somewhat fortuitous but deserved nonetheless, Carter's free-kick finding the talismanic Liam Daly at the back-post to sneak a header into the near post. Get in!
From that point, the game died down somewhat. Orient's attempts to get back into the game were relatively futile with Moors Paul Green mopping up everything in front of a defence never looking stretched. Darren Carter cleared the car park while Dan Happe was booked for an off-the-ball altercation with Afolayan.
Osborne volleyed over from distance as the rain began to descend on the Automated Technology Group Stadium before Thomas made the most of a defensive error, failing to shoot cleanly on his weaker right foot. The closest Orient came was Macauley Bonne's attempted cut back which was well cut out by O'Leary.
Solihull Moors had the chance to all but wrap the game up on 90 minutes. The plan for Shepherd Murombedzi and Paul Green was to simply keep the ball in the corner but Green attacked the space, was found by his partner and subsequently fouled by a clumsy challenge. Darren Carter stepped up but hit the post.
It mattered little. Solihull Moors had recorded a morale-boosting victory thanks to a performance that proved we have every right to be in the National League.
Some questioned the validity of the display given the lack of confidence and organisation evident in opposition that are winless in 15. However, we have to concentrate on the positives of our display and there is no questioning the commitment and organisation of the players.
In Jamey Osborne, we finally have that link between midfield and attack too for most of December. We remain raw in our attacking instincts but the pace and individualistic qualities of our forward players could result in some spectacular counter-attacks in front of a more organised backline and midfield.
Chester away next. What a match that could be!
Starting XI: O'Leary; Atkinson, Daly, Kelleher, Bowen; Osborne (Murombedzi), P.Green, Carter; Afolayan (Asante), Thomas, Hylton. Unused: K.Green, St.Ledger, Carline.