05:33PM, Saturday 26 October 2019
Maidenhead United 1, Solihull Moors 0
Remy Clerima lashed home an injury-time winner in atrocious conditions to hand Maidenhead United victory over Solihull Moors their committed second half display fully merited.
The French defender turned midfielder was on hand to sweep the ball beyond Ryan Boot from Danny Whitehall’s clever flick as the clock ticked beyond the 90-minute mark at a rain-lashed York Road.
United gradually warmed to their task in this one to secure a second straight win in the league that moves them up to 15th in the table.
In contrast Tim Flowers’ Solihull side slipped out of the play-off spots off the back of what the Moors' manager called a poor performance on a ‘pudding of a pitch’.
Improving Moors might have been out of sight in the early stages, but for some wasteful finishing. Jake Beesley nodded just wide at the back post in the eighth minute, following a clever lobbed cross from striker Danny Wright.
While a couple of minutes later Beesley was guilty of hesitancy as he ran through on goal, allowing Joe Ellul to make a last-ditch challenge, with the ball rolling kindly for captain Kyle Storer who blazed over with keeper Chris Dunn scrambling to get back in position.
United woke from their slumber after about 20 minutes, forcing a series of corners from which Moors defenders hacked clear. Ryan Upward came closest for the home side in the first half with a low drive that Boot palmed away low to his right in the 37th minute, and the midfielder scuffed another good opportunity well wide after Clerima chested the ball down to him.
Goalless at the break then but the Magpies play got much brighter in the second half as conditions deteriorated. Upward again tested the keeper in the 55th minute, after a period of intense pressure from the home side, while Alan Massey looped a header onto the top of the net from James Comley’s free-kick in the 70th minute.
It looked like their pressure might eventually tell in the 72nd minute, when Upward again found himself free in the Moors’ area, but his backwards header from Josh Smile’s searching cross came back off the inside of the post and into the grateful arms of Boot.
At the other end Beesley stretched to send a low shot wide of Dunn’s post with around 15 minutes remaining. But it was the Moors who looked to get away with one when a ball into the box appeared to strike Lee Vaughan on the arm. Nothing doing from the referee Scott Jackson, who at least levelled matters up when Jamie Reckord was taken down right on the edge of the Magpies area a few minutes later – with many in the ground convinced the offence had taken place inside the box.
United kept coming as the rain lashed down but it seemed their chance of winning the match had gone when substitute Danny Whitehall fired straight into the hands of Boot from Clerima’s wonderful right-wing cross in the 87th minute.
Moors could also have nicked it in the 89th minute, when another of the substitute’s Paul McCallum’s header looped past Dunn, but Massey was there on the goalline to boot the ball clear.
However, the Magpies finally got the rub of the green on home soil in the 91st minute when the ball was headed down to Whitehall, who back-heeled it into the path of Clerima, who kept his nerve to calmly steer it past Boot.
It was no less than the Magpies deserved for their determined efforts after the interval.
United are now four games unbeaten in all competitions heading into Tuesday's game against AFC Fylde at York Road. Fylde were also winners this afternoon, beating Boreham Wood 2-0 away from home.
Afterwards Magpies boss Alan Devonshire said: “I thought that we bossed it. We were a bit shaky for the first 15/20 minutes but after that I thought we were the better side. I think we got our just rewards so I’m delighted for them.
“They got a late goal here last year, and we’ve done it to them this year. I think there was still a few (players) who didn’t play as well as I know they can. But, listen, I can’t knock the character and work rate of the boys. We’ve had a tough week. We’ve had the Tuesday at Wealdstone, where we got a great result. We’ve got another great result today and that’s two clean sheets on the bounce.
“We’re in a lot better place than we were at this stage last year, and hopefully we can build on that. I’ve still got players to come in when they’re fit and I’ll have a headache then, but a lovely headache.”
Moors’ boss Flowers added: “If you can’t see a game out when you’ve done 93 minutes hard yards, on a wet day, on a pudding of a pitch. If you can’t see that out. The initial header is about 10 yards outside the area, and then there are about four of them unmarked in the area. Call me old fashioned, but any fear of picking up on the second phase.
"Listen, we’ve prided ourselves on this, but that’s two set plays that have done us in two games. And we’ve tossed two valuable points away. And, if we’d held on in those games we’d be about eight or nine games unbeaten. But that’s by the by, it’s all ifs and buts.
“But listen, I’m gutted, I’m gutted. We played quite well going forward until we got in and around the box, and then we were absolutely shocking. I thought our quality, decision making, the final ball was so poor. We had gilt edged chances. First 10 minutes we should have been two-zip. Talk about comfortable finishes, but you’ve got to bury people.”
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