Double Debut Delight For Yussuf
The Chigwell Construction Stadium
28.01.2017 // 15:00
Attendance: 2217 (39 Moors)
Adi Yussuf announced his arrival in style as Solihull Moors made it four wins from five.
The Moors' new number 9 scored twice in the opening 13 minutes to gift Moors a two-goal lead against play-off chasing Dagenham and Redbridge who responded through Fejiri Okenabirhie responded just before the break.
However, Oladapo Afolayan stepped off the bench to restore The Moors' two-goal lead as we cut the gap to safety to just one point.
With Jamie Reckord fit enough to play, Mark Yates made only one change to the side that beat Woking so convincingly last Saturday with new signing Yussuf replacing Afolayan in the starting XI.
Yussuf repaid Yates' faith with two goals inside the first 13 minutes though it could have been a different story had Okenabirhie connected cleanly to an early chance.
Two minutes later and The Moors were ahead. Jamie Reckord found Jermaine Hylton with a throw-in and the striker's exquisite touch into Yussuf's path left the burly forward needing to take one touch before placing the ball into the bottom corner.
Hylton was involved in Yussuf's second, receiving another throw-in before teeing up Kristian Green to cross. Yussuf was the target and he outmuscled Ben Nunn before nonchalantly throwing his left boot at the ball. Cousins was caught off guard and Yates' men were in dreamland.
The confidence flowing and the football fluid as our attacking quintet attacked a faulty Dagenham backline. Jamey Osborne drove from the halfway line before forcing Cousins into a low save and when Carter followed suit, he found Hylton with a backheel but the striker's curling effort didn't quite dip enough.
Liam Daly ought to have made it 3-0 before the hosts responded with a fine strike. Reckord could only head Nunn's cross into the path of Okenabirhie whose turn and shot from the edge of the area left Max O'Leary with no chance.
John Still's could have been level at half-time but Morgan Ferrier fired over from 20 yards and the post denied Bondz N'Gala a comeback goal.
The half-time regroup clearly worked with Jamie Reckord getting in behind twice but neither his low cross or near post shot could trouble Mark Cousins.
On 70 minutes, Moors scored their third and it was a beauty. Fiacre Kelleher did the first part, reading play well, taking on his man before punting the ball forward to Hylton who was left two-on-one against N'Gala and Lokko.
Hylton's first touch took the ball over N'Gala on the run and he showed both quick feet and strength to leave N'Gala floored. Lokko covered but his desperate lunge was in vain as the Moors striker found substitute Afolayan to his right, the 20-year-old placing the ball in the centre of the goal to secure the three points.
Kwame Thomas almost made it four, getting the better of N'Gala only to see his header rebound off the crossbar. Opanin Edwards' backheel was easily saved before Afolayan's powerful effort was palmed away by Cousins.
Another fantastic performance from the Solihull Moors side with every player clearly enjoying their football currently. Mark Yates has a side that look fitter, sharper and more organised than a lot of National League sides and long may it continue.
We may have played a game or two more than our opposition but to be one point from safety given the position we were in is remarkable.
Starting XI: O'Leary; K.Green, Daly, Kelleher, Reckord; Osborne (P.Green), Storer, Carter; Thomas, Hylton (Edwards), Yussuf (Afolayan). Unused: Frempah, Carline.