Smith Provides Knockout Blow on Boxing Day
26.12.2017 // 15:00
Boxing Day and New Year are used to pit non-league clubs against local rivals in a bid to allow part-time footballers to get back to their families as quick as possible.
Given our lonely status, Solihull Moors found themselves on the outskirts of London playing newly-promoted Maidenhead United for the first time.
Worse still, Christian Smith's header on the hour mark ensured Mark Yates' side fell to a second consecutive 1-0 defeat away from home.
Yates made two changes from the side that saw off Tranmere Rovers so impressively in the FA Trophy, Oladapo Afolayan and Akwasi Asante restored to the starting XI in place of Kwame Thomas, who was knocked out against Boreham Wood, and Jack Storer.
Another tight fixture, Yates would have hoped that his selection would wield the goal that deserted them at Chester and versus Boreham Wood as both sides attempted to match work ethic with a hard-fought victory.
Chances were few and far between throughout the game, the first major chance falling the way of the hosts when Jake Hyde couldn't quite turn the ball home during a game of pinball in the Solihull Moors area. Afolayan immediately drove forward on the counter-attack and found Asante who forced Carl Petney into a smart save.
The rest of the half saw little goalmouth action with James Mulley's volley and two Darren Carter crosses dangerous but failing to force either Max O'Leary or Petney into a save.
Jamey Osborne followed suit in the second half before Asante found Carter in another counter-attack but Petney was again equal to the effort.
Osborne had his work cut out at the other end of the pitch when he cleared Christian Smith's strike off the line from a corner kick. Carter then tried his luck once more but couldn't trouble Petney.
It was on the hour mark that Maidenhead broke the deadlock and just like Chester, it was a defender getting his head to a ball from a set-piece that caused the damage, Christian Smith, who was voted Maidenhead's man of the match for a towering defensive display, the home hero on this occasion.
Harry Pritchard forced O'Leary into a decent save after cutting inside from the left before Jamie Reckord's cross was looped over the bar by the head of Shepherd Murombedzi, once again a part of the front three.
George Carline and Jack Storer were brought onto the pitch late on in a bid to get something from the game but it was Osborne who had the best effort, Petney with a tremendous save to deny the on-loan midfielder a much-needed equaliser.
Post-match, Yates said he was 'frustrated' believing 'the better team didn't win the game' and bemoaning conceding a goal from a set-piece.
However, he did praise the 'commitment, effort and work rate' of his side, something that has been evident since Yates walked in the door. To be beaten away from home by another set-piece winner is frustrating for all and something we haven't deserved in recent weeks.
Hopefully it is a different story at Barrow on Saturday.
Starting XI: O'Leary; K.Green, Daly, Kelleher, Reckord; Osborne, P.Green (Carline), Carter; Murombedzi, Afolayan (Storer), Asante. Unused: Bowen, Frempah, Martin