SOLIHULL Moors tasted a first defeat away from home in 2019, after Salford City struck twice in the second-half to win the promotion six-pointer at the Peninsula Stadium.
Goals from Salford skipper Liam Hogan and Matt Green settled the National League tie despite numerous opportunities from the visiting Moors.
Manager Tim Flowers remained upbeat despite defeat, and gave an honest assessment of the game.
“I thought first half we were the better side. We created the better chances, looked dangerous off our set-plays and their goalkeeper made an outstanding double save.
“Second half, I didn’t think it was a particularly good game. I didn’t think they hurt us other than two individual errors to be honest with you.”
He re-iterated that everything is still at stake, and no hope should be lost by the away loss for his side.
“There’s a long way to go – a quarter of the season just less now, but 30 points in our case to play for.
“That’s a lot of points. We’ve got back-to-back home games now and we have to respond as we always have done.
“Now’s not the time to start disbelieving what we’re good at. We’re a very good big, strong, physical team who can hurt you badly if you’re not up for it.”
Danny Wright had an early opening when Lee Vaughan played him through, but Salford keeper Chris Neal was quickly off his line to clear.
Alex Gudger had the first opportunity of the game when latching onto a knock-down in the box, but fired his effort over the bar.
The defender was busy doing a forward’s work it seemed, as he had two follow-up chances denied by Neal from close-range.
Down the other end, Ryan Boot pulled off a low-stop with his legs to keep out Green, before he cut the ball back to Devonte Redmond with a follow-up opportunity, but he couldn’t keep his effort down.
Wright had a final opportunity before the break when meeting Jamey Osborne’s corner, but sent his header wide of the post as the sides went in level.
It only took nine second-half minutes for the opener to arrive.
Salford’s Hogan paced ahead of Boot to reach a cross and plant a header beyond him and into the net, giving the Greater Manchester club a priceless lead.
Moors chased for an equaliser and almost snatched it when Osborne whipped a cross to the penalty area edge, where Vaughan drove a half-volley into the side netting.
Osborne was again the main threat for everything that Solihull did going forward, and once more provided a cross for Wright – but his subsequent header was too weak to cause Neal any problems.
It took a firm stance from Boot to prevent Green’s effort from an narrow angle, but he found the net shortly after when capitalising on Vaughan’s mistake to crack his shot against the underside of the crossbar and in.
Defeat in Salford would have been a tough one to take for Flowers’ side, but they have an immediate opportunity to respond when hosting Gateshead on Tuesday night (7:45pm) before welcoming Braintree Town on Saturday (3pm) for the second home fixture at The Automated Technology Group Stadium in a week.