FOOTBALL: Solihull Moors rounded off their debut season in the Vanarama National League with a draw against relegation candidates Guiseley, reports John Clothier.
Moors entered the game knowing their National League status was safe following recent wins against Macclesfield and Eastleigh, however Guiseley had to hope they would match York’s performance if they were to avoid the drop.
Liam McDonald’s side travelled to West Yorkshire with multiple injury problems – Ashley Samms, Oladapo Afolayan and Harry White were all absent, granting three academy players a chance to play in the top flight of non-league football.
Omari Sterling James had the first effort for Solihull as his free kick was deflected for a corner, which resulted in a free kick in favour of the home side following a push.
Sterling-James was soon back in the action but could not control a dangerous pass across the box.
Walton’s free kick then found former Leicester player Asamoah, but his header hit the woodwork.
Moors should’ve taken the lead when Regan Charles-Cook had his heels clipped just inside the Guiseley’s penalty area.
His spot kick lacked power and direction though as Atkinson made a comfortable save in goal.
Charles-Cook’s penalty miss was soon amended by Moors though as Sterling-James was fouled 20 yards out. His free kick was sent over the wall and into the top corner of the net to put Moors ahead.
With news filtering through that Forest Green Rovers were leading York 2-1, there was a degree of calm among the Guiseley faithful.
However moments later York equalised, dropping the home side into the relegation zone – meaning Guiseley required a goal if they were to avoid the drop into the Vanarama National League North.
McDonald’s side almost doubled their lead shortly into the second half when Charles-Cook found Sterling-James in the box, but his shot was cleared off the goal line.
Further efforts from Joel Kettle and Sterling-James were missed as Moors dictated play in the midfield while Guiseley desperately tried to find a season-saving equaliser.
As the game approached the 70th minute, Guiseley started to enjoy their best spell of the match.
Asamoah put in a great run down the right and crossed the ball into the box. However Cassidy could not reach the ball and Nathan Baxter was forced to make a fine save as Lawlor headed goal wards.
Mwanyongo replaced Nortey and Callum Coyle was on for Charles-Cook with 15 minutes remaining.
Five minutes later and Tyrese Shade replaced Sterling-James. Shade immediately went on a run at the Guiseley defence with a 25-yard strike which was tipped onto the bar by Atkinson before he gathered the rebound.
With York still level, Guiseley required a last minute goal to keep their National League status.
And they got it when a long throw into the box saw Baxter and Green outjumped by captain Danny Lowe whose header found the back of the net – sending the home fans wild with delight.
An eight minute wait for the York game to finish then took place before a roar greeted news that York were down and the home team had survived in the last game for the second season running.
Moors’ determination at the end of a long season ensured they will once again play in the top tier of non-league football next season.
Pictures credit: Steve Feeney Photography.