DEFENDER Michael Nottingham celebrated his 100th appearance for Solihull Moors by scoring a fine goal to seal at comfortable 4-1 victory at home to Stalybridge Celtic in the Vanarama National North, reports John Clothier.
Marcus Bignot’s side extended their lead at the top of the table after putting Celtic to the sword thanks to goals from Nottingham, Andy Brown, Steven Leslie and Liam Daly at the Automated Technology Group Stadium.
It was a perfect opening segment for the home side with Ryan Beswick dictating play from midfield while an early run down the right by Nottingham was foiled by keeper McMillan.
However home fans did not have long to wait for the opener when on seven minutes Darryl Knights’ in-swinging corner was met by Andy Brown as the Celtic defence seemed to freeze and McMillan had no chance as the powerful header hit the back of the net.
Celtic edged possession over the next 25 minutes but were unable to breach the Solihull defence while in typical Moors style the hosts hit them on the break time and time again.
Ben Siegrist saved well from Mudimu who unleashed a low rocket from 30 yards while Dixon looked the most dangerous of the Stalybridge attack and would need careful marking throughout the game.
Brown was inches away from sliding in his second goal after good work from Knights and Moore but Moore‘s subsequent effort had little power.
Simm shot well wide in a one on one with Siegrist, while the Moors keeper came off worse as he collided with Chalmers on the slippery surface but was able to continue.
A second goal came on 33 minutes thanks to a fantastic piece of play by Steven Leslie who collected the ball on the left flank and smashed the ball into the top corner of the net from 25 yards out despite the best efforts of McMillan.
Three minutes later Moors were 3-0 up when Leslie pushed a 40 yard free kick into the six yard box and as Wisdom slipped, Daly was on hand to toe poke the ball home from close range.
Jordan Gough was on for Leslie as the match resumed after the break and on the hour mark Stefan Moore had the chance to extend the lead as he rounded the goalkeeper but McMillan had time to gather the ball.
A rasping shot from the Moors man then just cleared the bar, while Daly headed wide.
The visitors clawed a goal back on 74 minutes when Dixon unleashed a thunderbolt which Siegrist just managed to parry but as the ball fell to ground there was James to nod home.
Moors responded well with Byfield and Daly coming close but with four minutes remaining the result was put beyond any doubt.
Nottingham collected a long ball across the pitch as he sped down the right flank – he cut inside and thumped a left footed shot into the top of the far corner of the net – keeper McMillan hardly moved, it was so quick and decisive.
With games cancelled elsewhere and other teams involved in the FA Trophy, Moors move four points clear at the top but the two title chasing teams have two games in hand.