MANAGER Tim Flowers labelled Solihull Moors’ first-half showing against AFC Fylde “the best” he’s seen at the club – after witnessing a fine 3-1 victory for his side at the SportNation.bet Stadium.
Moors were three goals to the good after 25 minutes thanks to Danny Wright’s header, a Paul McCallum penalty and one from Callum Howe.
Even though The Coasters pulled one back on the stroke of half time through Ryan Croasdale, a goalless second half ensued to confirm a ninth home win of the season for Moors and take them to within a point of leaders Barrow in third.
Flowers only had positive words of praise during his team talk at the break, revealing: “I said to them at half time that for 35 minutes that was the best I’ve since us play since I’ve been here.
“We were massively energetic from the start, we had great territory and we got into good areas to shoot or cross from dangerous angles.
“We had bodies in the box and we were mostly clinical in terms of our finishing – to go 3-0 up against a team of Fylde’s quality is no mean feat.
“It looked odds on like we were really going to go on and win quite heavily, but for some reason after the third goal, we conceded a very poor goal right on half time.
“We got massive rubs of the green. There were two huge chances to bring Fylde back into it and maybe get a point out of the game.”
In Saturday’s game, James Ball was the first to go close when he connected with McCallum’s long throw to direct a header goalwards – albeit a simple enough save for Sam Hornby.
The Moors were not to be denied for long though, and with the first decent attempt on goal they had the lead.
A right-wing cross from Lee Vaughan picked out Jamey Osborne’s run to the back post, the midfielder planting a header across goal for Wright to nod into the net on 15 minutes.
The hosts should have been two goals in front when Osborne whipped in a sumptuous ball onto the head of Jake Beesley, who clattered the crossbar with his resulting attempt.
Referee David Richardson presented the Moors with the perfect opportunity to give themselves a cushion when pointing to the spot after the emphatic Osborne had a winding run halted by a foul inside the penalty area.
McCallum gratefully accepted the chance to convert from 12 yards and sent Hornby the wrong way to put Solihull in control.
It allowed the hosts to go for the kill and grab a third five minutes later when the unmarked Howe powered a header into the top corner.
Having been a mere bystander to the Solihull blitz throughout the half, Fylde finally made an impression on the game when Dan Bradley forced a save from Ryan Boot, before Croasdale capitalised on a defensive mix up to score.
After a slow start to the second half, Wright somehow sent a close-range effort off target from a corner, while Croasdale was denied by Gavin Gunning’s last-gasp tackle as he lined up to shoot.
Osborne unleashed a trademark howitzer from 25-yards out in the closing stages, but saw the attempt glimpse just wide of the far post, while Croasdale inexplicably missed an open goal and the chance to force a tense finale.
Continued Fylde pressure led to Danny Rowe cracking a goal-bound strike towards the bottom corner, bringing an impressive stop from Boot.
The Moors keeper was finally beaten a second time from a deflected header, but had the returning Nathan Blissett to thank for hooking the ball off the goal line.
Solihull visit tenth-placed Dover Athletic, who have won just twice in their opening ten league games at home, on Saturday (3pm).