BOSS Tim Flowers was a proud man but could not hide his disappointment after Solihull Moors surrendered a 3-0 lead to lose 4-3 against an ultimately rampant Rotherham United in Monday’s FA Cup second round tie.
The hosts were richly deserving of their seemingly insurmountable advantage against their League One opponents, but a Freddie Ladapo goal 14 minutes from time sparked a sensational comeback in which the difference in fitness levels between the sides was hugely evident.
The rampant Millers, who despite being a Championship side last season created nothing of note until their first goal, went on to score three more times to inflict a devastating defeat on Flowers’ men and deny them a third round tie at home to Championship side Hull City.
Flowers, whose side resume their National League title challenge at Wrexham on Saturday, said: “For the most part I’m very proud of the way the lads played. Up until the last 15-20 minutes, I thought we were in control of the game.
“I thought we bossed the first half, looked a good side and started like a hurricane. It was a dream start. If you’re ever going to play against a team two leagues above yourself, that’s the start you want.
“But we knew full well Rotherham carry a serious sting in their tail. I’m gutted because we’ve thrown away a golden chance to play Hull City in the third round but we’ve conducted ourselves in a terrific manner.”
Moors made a blistering start in front of a crowd of 2,372 and took a sixth-minute lead when Jamey Osborne crashed a superb 20-yard strike into the top corner past a helpless Daniel Iversen.
The lead was then doubled two minutes later when a superb delivery from Lee Vaughan found Alex Gudger unmarked in the box and the defender finished first time past Iversen.
Moors came close to adding a third just before the 20-minute mark when a mazy run from Osborne saw him hold off three Millers defenders before laying the ball off for Paul McCallum, but the striker’s effort was pushed behind for a corner by Iversen.
Despite Ladapo being a threat to be wary of, all Rotherham could muster in the first half was Clark Robertson’s header which went narrowly wide just before half-time.
Moors remained the side most likely to score next and did just that on 62 minutes to seemingly deal a fatal blow to the visitors’ hopes in front of the BT Sport cameras.
Jake Beesley surged past his man on the halfway line and drove towards goal before cleverly squaring to James Ball who made no mistake from close range.
Moors gradually began to sit in and Jamie Reckord was well placed to cut out Kyle Vassell’s dangerous cross, but the visitors did find a way through when a cross into the box from Chiedozie Ogbene floated over the head of Callum Howe and was met by an unmarked Ladapo who turned the ball past Ryan Boot.
Beesley had a golden chance to restore the three-goal lead just a minute later when a free kick fell fortuitously to him but his first-time shot from close range was poor and wide of Iversen’s goal.
Ten minutes from time it was 3-2 when a cross was not fully cleared and Rotherham captain Michael Ihiekwe finished superbly into the far corner from just inside the area.
Rotherham were rampant and Matt Crooks side-footed a strike against the post before the visitors did level on 88 minutes when substitute Michael Smith cleverly headed home inside the far post from Ogbene’s cross.
Smith became the match-winner in the first minute of added time when he found space between defenders to power home another header and cap a dramatic night at the SportNation.bet Stadium.
Report and picture compiled with the help of Solihull Moors FC.