TWO from Adam Rooney and a Joe Sbarra strike guided Solihull Moors to an emphatic 3-1 victory over Leamington to sign off their pre-season preparations on a high note.
Jimmy Shan’s side had to do it the hard way, coming from a goal behind after trailing early to Danny Waldron’s opener, but managed to turn the game on its head before the break to provide momentum ahead of Saturday’s league opener at Woking.
A host of changes were made to the side that triumphed 2-0 at Hereford in midweek, with no less than nine alterations to the starting XI at the SportNation.bet Stadium – something which perhaps led to some rustiness when the Brakes hit the front on three minutes.
Leamington’s front man found his way behind the Moors’ defence, then provided the finish to match by rolling the ball underneath Ryan Boot.
It could have been two for the visitors when Jack Edwards flashed a vicious effort towards goal, this time the Solihull custodian equal to the effort moments later.
The save was crucial, as it allowed Rooney to level things up on 13 minutes with a well-placed header into the far corner from Jordan Cranston’s inch-perfect delivery.
Moors’ leveller helped Rooney exorcise the demons of a miserable afternoon a week previously against Hereford, when nothing fell his way in the 1-0 defeat.
Cranston was a livewire throughout the half and set up James Ball for a drive that whistled narrowly wide, before delivering the cross that contributed to Solihull’s go-ahead goal.
The Welsh left-back picked out Stephen Gleeson on the edge of the box, who shifted the ball onto the head of Rooney, with the resulting header tipped away by Leamington’s Jake Weaver and converted by Sbarra from close range five minutes before half-time.
A penalty call for a trip on Rooney was waved away as the break beckoned, with Moors denied the two-goal cushion their play warranted.
But with the second half getting underway, the hosts started where they left off, threatening Weaver’s goal once again through Kyle Storer’s free-kick that glanced just past the post.
And just after the hour-mark, Moors had the insurance goal they so craved.
Rooney was alive to receive the ball from Sbarra after Leamington’s Joe Martin was dispossessed, before slotting home.
Two trialists were afforded half an hour after the goal to impress, and so they did in the supporting positions behind talisman Rooney – almost providing a fourth late on.
The result will be of great satisfaction to Shan though, not just in terms of the scoreline but the performance to match, as all attentions turn to a first competitive fixture in half a year this weekend.
Moors were downed 2-0 last time out against The Cards, so will hope for greater fortunes this time out at Kingfield Stadium (Saturday, 3pm).