12:01PM, Tuesday 02 January 2018
Solihull Moors 3, Maidenhead United 1
Maidenhead United suffered back-to-back league defeats for the first time this season as they went down 3-1 at struggling Solihull Moors on New Years Day.
Both teams were reduced to 10 men at the end of the first half, while the Magpies conceded three times in a 10 minute spell after taking the lead through Moses Emmanuel’s 53rd minute header.
United had beaten the Moors 1-0 in a scrappy Boxing Day fixture, thanks to Christian Smith’s second half header, but they failed to repeat that feat as 2018 kicked off in disappointing fashion.
Alan Devonshire’s men have been hanging onto the coattails of the sides competing for the play-offs, and looked en route to their third win in four league matches when Emmanuel escaped his marker to head Harry Pritchard’s cross through the legs of Sheridon Martinez in the early stages of the second half.
But a roller-coaster contest had more dips downs than ups after that, with man-of-the-match Oladapo Afolayan levelling the scores with a rocket of a shot past Carl Pentney in the 63rd minute. Darren Carter then turned the contest on its header when he beautifully picked out the top corner just a minute later.
Afolayan then helped himself to a second of the afternoon when he drilled home from Jermaine Hylton’s cross in the 72nd minute.
Maidenhead had their chances to respond, but Pritchard shot tamely at Martinez and Sean Marks got his feet in a muddle when it seemed certain he’d pounce to make it 3-2. The burly striker slipped at the crucial juncture and the Moors’ stopper pounced to smother the danger.
A goalless first half was notable mainly for its dramatic conclusion, which saw both sides trudge off with only 10 men.
First Adrian Clifton saw red for a late challenge on Jamey Osborne in the 44th minute. However, Osborne went from victim to villain in the space of a minute after he was dismissed for a second cautionable offence.
United entered 2018 in decent form, but looking for a response to Saturday’s narrow 2-1 defeat to AFC Fylde at York Road. However, Solihull shaded the first half chances, with Jermaine Hylton coming the closest to breaking the deadlock. Liam Daly also headed Osborne’s free-kick straight at Pentney as the Magpies flew through an early storm. Their best moment came when Clifton’s pull back was thumped harmlessly over the bar by Pritchard in the 40th minute.
Devonshire will be hopeful his side can bounce back against Halifax Town at York Road on Saturday. They remain just six points off the play-off places. The win for Moors, which followed their narrow win over Barrow away on Saturday, moves them above Guiseley, Torquay and Chester at the bottom of the table.
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