A FIRST half hat-trick by Akwasi Asante helped Solihull Moors overcome AFC Telford 3-0 and move one step closer to being crowned champions of the Vanarama National League North, reports John Clothier and the New Buck’s Head.
Marcus Bignot’s side went into Saturday’s match knowing a win and a drew or defeat for North Ferribly would see them win promotion, but they came up against a Telford side who were unbeaten since February when Moors claimed all three points in a 2-1 win.
A fairly even start saw Campion shoot high over the bar and McCarthy was ruled offside after being put through before the opening goal with seven minutes played.
Ryan Beswick curled the ball into the Telford box and after goalkeeper Montgomery spilled the ball, Liam Daly seized the opportunity to pass back to the incoming Akwasi Asante for a hard low shot which crossed the goal line to the delight of the travelling support.
The visitors came close again soon after with Connor Franklin’s pass into the box just eluding Darryl Knights whilst Liam Daly brought out a fine save by Montgomery from Jack Byrne’s 30 yard free kick.
But from the resulting corner Andy Brown rose majestically and again Montgomery could not hang onto the ball as Asante had a simple tap in for goal number two with just 11 minutes played.
McCarthy drove wide on a rare Telford attack whilst Wilson’s 12 yard effort was deflected for a corner which was cleared by Franklin and Tilt did well to set up Wynter who curled a shot towards the right-hand corner before it was cleared.
As the first half entered two minutes of added time, Andy Brown had the ball in the net from a Liam Daly knock on but the referee saw an infringement.
But moments before the half time whistle, Asante got his hat trick after Knights put Franklin away down the left and he cut the ball back to Asante who side-footed into the corner of the net.
Junior English was on for Beswick at the re-start but first into action was keeper Lewis who denyed a low shot just inside the inside of the post.
Montgomery was equal to Knights shot on the hour mark as it accelerated towards the right hand corner and Byrne produced a spectacular overhead clearance to kill off a Telford attack.
Substitute Cofie blasted high when Rea was available in the area and Brown curled a free kick from 20 yards well over Montgomery’s bar which proved to be his last contribution as he made way for the fresh legs of Stefan Moore.
With 15 minutes remaining Samuels struck low and hard as the ball hit Daly’s outstretched foot but as it spun and looped towards the net, Lewis reacted superbly to clutch it from the air. Daly had a fine headed goal denied by the referee for a foul on Montgomery before at the other end Lewis had no problems with a scuffed shot from close range.
With Jimmy Armson on for Jack Byrne, Moors comfortably saw out the final minutes and Grogan was dismissed for a second bookable offence in added on time to add to a miserable day for the hosts.