FOOTBALL: A SPOT kick save from debutante Charlier Bannister helped Moors advance to the second round of the Birmingham Senior Cup.
Moors were drawn against Stratford Town for their opening contest of the regional competition, and they were made to work hard when a late equaliser forced the game to penalties.
New Moors manager Richard Money fielded a strong side and they had the better of the opening exchanges – notably when an early opportunity fell to Richard Brodie, whose snap shot from the edge of the box was palmed away by Stratford keeper Louis Connor.
As the half wore on, Moors gained territory and Shepherd Murombedzi weaved his way through a crowd of players and skimmed a shot just wide of the left hand post.
Stratford responded on 30 minutes when a powerful effort from captain James Fry was grabbed by Bannister at the second attempt.
Moors took the lead on 43 minutes when striker Dapo Afolayan latched onto a stray pass by Stratford defender Loyiso Recci and stroked it low into the bottom corner.
Unphased by the goal though, Stratford started the second half with intent.
Eli Bako’s early shot grazed the top of the crossbar before Stratford substitute Ben Stephens saw his shot handled by Joel Kettle on the edge of the box.
From the resulting free kick, an excellent double stop from Bannister was required to keep out Stephens fizzing drive and Liam Francis from the rebound.
Eventually Stratford’s pressure told when Charlie Evans burst into the box and was up-ended by McDonald in the 82nd minute.
Substitute striker Edwin Ahenkorah smashed in the penalty to level the scores.
As Moors searched for a response, the visitors own substitute striker Tahvon Campbell, on for Brodie, was in the thick of the action, striking a powerful effort saved at full stretch by the keeper, and McDonald’s follow-up effort sailed high over the bar.
With full time looming, a quick free kick from just inside the Stratford half was taken on by Kettle who picked out Campbell and he watched his goal bound shot spectacularly saved one-handed by Connor.
A penalty shoot out was required to decide who would progress to the next round.
Bannister produced the defining moment of the night when he pushed the second spot kick from Luckie over the bar.
Richards, McDonald, Campbell and Afolayan all duly scored before Cleary settled the tie.
All Solihull Moors pictures credit: Tom King Photography.