Solihull Moors 1 Leyton Orient 0
Vanarama National League
Report by Scott Lanza
Justin Edinburgh took over the reins in midweek and immediately had to re-shuffle the pack, giving goalkeeping duties to coach Dean Brill, whilst also unable to select Jake Caprice and Jamie Sendles-White due to suspensions. Edinburgh, who has won this division with Newport County entered the fray with the O’s just above the drop zone having gone fourteen games without a win.
An early O’s corner required Max O’Leary to do some early work and the Moors keeper had to punch the ball clear. It was to be the only bit of work he had to do until the 27th minute when Macauley Bonne was finally played in on goal but O’Leary charged the ball down before one of his defenders hooked clear.
The Moors came into the game at the foot of the table having only won once in front of their home fans, with only three victories overall in the league; but they fought with a determination which saw them dominate large parts of the first half. James Bowen had fired an early shot high and then in the 12th minute delivered a quality ball to Jermaine Hylton who headed his effort over the bar. Then Jamey Osborne was through on goal before Joe Widdowson put in a timely intervention to knock the ball away for a corner. Hylton then worked his way through but luckily for the O’s elected to lay the ball off, which Widdowson cleared, rather than fire off a shot. Orient were living dangerously and there was an anxious moment when a Moors corner was fumbled by Brill before being cleared.
Brill however showed some top class keeping palming away an Osborne shot in the 22nd minute. And a dangerous left wing cross from Darren Carter darted across the Orient goalmouth before being blocked, which won the Moors yet another corner.
Bonne at least was chasing a ball in an attempt to create an Orient opening in the 27th minute which O’Leary blocked and after it was cleared it was soon the O’s back on the back foot with Widdowson being called upon to put in a tackle to dispossess Hylton. And Brill was again called into action as he had to tip away a Liam Daley header.
As the half came to its conclusion the O’s did manage to have the ball in the Moors box with Jobi McAnuff and James Dayton both sending over crosses but neither came to anything. In the 35th minute Dayton turned and rifled off a shot that forced O’Leary into a diving save. It was the only bit of action the Moors keeper had been involved in such was Orient’s toothless attacking play and the hosts went in having been the much busier of the two teams.
The second period began with the Moors carrying on their bombardment of the O’s defence; barely a minute into the re-start and they were capitalising on a weak McAnuff pass which quickly ended up in the possession of Oladapo Afolayan whose low shot was saved by Brill’s shins. The O’s keeper went on to deny Afolayan moments later and then saved a Kwayme Thomas effort. McAnuff had a shot deflected away for a corner by Wes Atkinson. It was a sniff of goal at least for the O’s but nothing came from the resulting corner and the O’s were not able to build any further forward momentum.
The Moors had a claim for a penalty in the 54th minute when Thomas went down under a Danny Happe challenge but the tackle was seen as legitimate by the referee – but the O’s were again inviting pressure onto themselves and the dam finally burst in the 58th minute. Moors Skipper Darren Moore floated over a free kick that an unmarked Liam Daly was able to head past Brill to give the Moors a deserved 1-0 lead.
The O’s did respond with a McAnuff free kick that was headed away by Fiacre Kelleher but the O’s simply did not put O’Leary and his defence under any kind of pressure. At the other end Hylton was both firing off shots and laying balls off to team mates that came into the attack; Osborne and Carter were both teed up by the Moors talisman but lashed both chances too high. The Moors were having a lot more of the possession and as the game came into its final twenty minutes it was the hosts that were showing the most urgency to get the three teams that were on offer.
O’Leary had to punch clear an Orient corner but the Moors were on the front foot with Hylton and Thomas both firing shots over. Then soon after Bonne had a shot blocked after a fine passing move involving McAnuff and Dayton had momentarily split the Moors defence; O’Leary however blocked Bonne’s close range shot. Bonne however then spurned a golden opportunity to draw the O’s level when he under hit McAnuff’s cross which was then easily stopped by O’Leary.
The O’s afternoon was almost made worse when Paul Green went down in the box and this time the referee pointed to the spot. Shepherd Murombedzi rifled the penalty against the post. However despite the slender score line, Solihull Moors totally dominated this game; having now lost their last two games against fellow relegation candidates means that Justin Edinburgh has jumped straight into the fire and needs to quickly get his squad playing in a spirited way that can fight for the points that are still available. The O’s are embroiled in the relegation battle and this lack-lustre display has not helped the cause as they now sit just two points above the drop zone – with two of the teams below them having games in hand.
Solihull Moors: Max O’Leary, James Bowen, Darren Carpenter (Capt), Wes Atkinson, Jermaine Hylton, Oladapo Afolayan (Akwasi Asante 79’), Paul Green, Liam Daly, Fiacre Kelleher, Jamey Osborne (Shepherd Murombedzi 87’), Kwame Thomas.
Scorer – Liam Daly (58’)
Leyton Orient: Dean Brill, Joe Widdowson, Jobi McAnuff (Capt), Macauley Bonne, Myles Judd, Henry Ochieng (Sam Dalby 73’), Craig Clay, Matthew Harold (David Mooney 66’), Danny Happe, James Dayton, Bondz N’Gala.