Stockport County 2 Solihull Moors 4
Vanarama National North
AKWASI Asante’s first half brace – including a wonder second goal – set Moors on their way to a crucial and impressive victory in front of 2,437 fans at Edgeley Park on Tuesday, writes John Clothier.
Moors, who had drawn five of their last six league matches – the only exception being the 1-0 home success over former Championship outfit County in late October – are now unbeaten in 17 league matches this season and sit three points behind leaders Nuneaton Town with two games in hand.
Despite the poor weather, Moors were greeted by a pitch in perfect condition and an electric atmosphere, but it was the hosts who were quickly out of the blocks as Ben Siegrist saved well from Abs Baggie and Jake Kirby and then gathered a dangerous cross from Wade Joyce.
However, Moors were soon in their stride with Michael Nottingham hacked down by Roberts as he outstripped the defender down the right flank for what would have been a one-on-one with the keeper.
Stefan Moore was also looking impressive and his cross on 12 minutes saw Darryl Knights well placed but the latter’s header lacked direction.
Connor Franklin’s trademark long throw was met by Liam Daly but cleared off the line, whilst Jack Byrne’s thunderbolt from 20 yards produced a great save from on loan debutant keeper O’Hara.
The breakthrough arrived in the 26th minute when Knights produced a defence-splitting pass to Moore on the right and his hard, low cross was met by Asante who smashed the ball into the net to put Solihull ahead.
Moors piled on the pressure and the unfortunate O’Hara, although doing well to rush off his line to thwart another attack, cleared the ball to Asante some 35 yards out, but the Moors striker coolly looked up, saw the keeper still out of his box and curled a beautiful shot into the far corner for his and Moors’ second goal.
Solihull were relentless as Knights, Moore and Nottingham all went close and Asante almost completed a first half hat-trick but O’Hara was quickly off his line to shut down the opening.
Stockport were positive in the second half and poor defending from a corner within two minutes of the restart gave O’Hanlon the easiest of goals to make it 2-1.
Kirby then came close to levelling for County but Siegrist produced another brilliant save and it proved crucial as, from the resulting clearance, Moore raced up the left flank and turned his defender inside out and, from the most difficult of angles, curled the ball home from 20 yards to make it 3-1.
Moors were dangerous on both flanks with Gaz Dean a threat on the left and Ryan Beswick majestically directing play from midfield.
Asante was again close to his hat-trick on 62 minutes but his shot from the edge of the box was brilliantly saved by O’Hara.
However, Stockport still looked capable of providing a trreat and Rule shot wide and Odejayi headed against the crossbar, before they did reduce their deficit on 78 minutes when Kirby unleashed a screamer from outside the box which flew into the net.
The hosts pushed forward but three minutes later a long clearance from Solihull cleared the Stockport defence and Knights judged his run well to beat the offside trap and clinically lob the ball over the advancing O’Hara to ensure there was no way back for the hosts.
Moors, who were frustratingly held to a 0-0 draw by visitors Gloucester City on Saturday, are three points above third and fourth placed North Ferriby United and AFC Fylde, with two games in hand on the latter, after stretching their unbeaten league run to a superb 17 games.