SOLIHULL Moors provided the perfect response to the weekend’s loss to Salford City, after edging Gateshead on Tuesday night at The Automated Technology Group Stadium.
Nathan Blissett’s 62nd minute strike was enough for all three points against the ten-men of Gateshead – who had former-Newcastle United defender Mike Williamson sent off before half-time.
The match had been under threat of postponement after heavy rainfall, but Tim Flowers’ men will be relieved to have played on and got the win in the bag.
Assistant manager Gary Whild re-iterated the importance of making sure Moors got back on track at the first opportunity.
“It was vital, especially after Saturday. We’ve made a point of making sure we haven’t lost twice on the bounce this season.
“Three points at this time of the season is like gold dust, so it’s a great win for us.
“We’re glad that we made our man advantage count in the second half.”
Solihull lost out in Salford after Liam Hogan and Matt Green’s second-half strikes punished Moors, despite having numerous opportunities in the game.
Moors had a full-strength side available to them against Gateshead, apart from the unwell Terry Hawkridge, and started positively.
Danny Wright and Jamey Osborne pursued the visitors defence from the first whistle, and despite Greg Olley forcing Ryan Boot into a superb stop, were looking the more likely side to score.
Lee Vaughan threatened down the right with his crossing, whilst Jermaine Hylton had an attempt blocked for a corner after being put through by Darren Carter.
From the resulting in-swinger, Alex Gudger had a strike cleared off the line by goalkeeper Aynsley Pears.
Then came a turning point in the game, Osborne was brought down by Williamson as he burst through on goal, which sparked a melee.
The Gateshead defender subsequently striking Wright, leaving the referee with the simple decision of showing a red card.
Hylton fired the last effort of the half wide, as the sides went in goal-less.
Solihull were on the front foot throughout the second-half and were unlucky not to be ahead through Hylton’s turn and shot at goal, brushing just past the post.
A long-throw into the box caused more havoc for Gateshead, falling to Hylton at the back-post – who, despite having three swipes at the ball in a packed penalty area, eventually watched the ball drift wide for a corner.
Moors eventually got the go-ahead goal just after the hour mark, when Carter’s corner curled precisely onto the head of Blissett to direct his header home.
Then, with just 20 minutes left on the clock, Hylton lobbed the ball over Pears and into the net, but the flag denied Moors a two-goal cushion.
Solihull again found the net when Daly converted Osborne’s free-kick, but an infringement this time prevented some breathing space.
The last action of note was a superb stop by Pears to keep out substitute Adi Yussuf, but it would not matter, as Moors secured the three points.
Match-winner Nathan Blissett was delighted to have reached double figures for Solihull with his strike against Gateshead, and echoed the sentiments of Whild in winning the game.
“It was a tight game in tricky conditions, but we had what it took to edge the result.
“Credit to the boys and everyone involved because these are the games that win you leagues.
“I’m buzzing to get into double figures, as there’s always competition between the strikers.”
Moors now sit three points behind leaders Leyton Orient, with the same amount of games played, and are a point ahead of third-placed Wrexham having played a game less.
Flowers’ side next host Braintree Town on Saturday (3pm), the bottom-side in the National League who had lost their last four games in the league before thrashing Sutton United 3-0 away from home.
Goals from Danny Wright, Adi Yussuf and Matt Stenson sealed a 3-0 win in Essex in the reverse fixture in November, but it will be anything but an easy ride, with just nine games of the season remaining.