THE ELATION of Saturday’s comprehensive 3-0 victory over Dover Athletic was tarnished by Tuesday night’s last-gasp 1-0 defeat to Hartlepool United for Solihull Moors.
A Callum Howe double, following a first-half own-goal from Aaron Simpson, helped give Solihull manager Jimmy Shan the perfect introduction to the Moors faithful in his first match at the SportNation.bet Stadium.
But with that same level of confidence and overall performance missing in midweek, Aidan Keena won it for Hartlepool with four minutes to go to deliver a 13th National League defeat of the season to the Moors.
After a continuation of a run which has defined a hit and miss season for Solihull so far, Shan felt the visitors from County Durham were deserving of the three points, and said: “They came with high energy and with the purpose of pressing us.
“Credit to them. They caught us out and they chased after us very quickly.
“We had moments where we could’ve had a better shape to help us retain possession better and cause them problems.
“But without the ball we got caught out, not recognising when to sit off or when to step up and press.
“Where we’re looking to progress to, we’ve got to be able to manage teams that play like that better and move the ball with fewer touches more quickly.”
In Solihull’s latest outing, two early saves from goalkeeper Ryan Boot kept out Pools’ Gimi Toure with long-range efforts, while Rob Harker should have done better when sending Luke Molyneux’s cross wide.
Jake Beesley was presented with the best chance to send Solihull in front when going through on goal, but his attempt to round Hartlepool’s Ben Killip proved unsuccessful.
With no breakthrough before half-time, the visitors appeared the side more incentivized to find an opener, albeit with no real efforts of note being posted at Boot’s goal.
Moors’ best bet of a winner was through Beesley, who fired a low drive against the foot of the post and out after beating the outstretched Killip, as the game headed towards its conclusion.
James Ball was next to trouble the away side, forcing the Pools ‘keeper into a solid stop with ten minutes remaining.
The late misses proved costly though, as a late counter-attack led Keena to go through on goal and blast home to win the game for United.
It was a far cry from the convincing nature in which Moors tore apart high-flying Dover in Saturday’s win which boosted their play-off ambitions.
After squandering a number of opportunities, a whipped free-kick from Darren Carter deflected off Simpson to catch Whites’ goalkeeper Lee Worgan out and give Solihull the opening goal of the Jimmy Shan era on 36 minutes.
A second was provided with 20 minutes remaining to virtually put Moors out of sight when Howe fired home from close range after being denied with an initial header.
Howe then applied the finishing touch 11 minutes later when meeting a rebound after defensive partner Geraldo Bajrami crashed a header onto the bar.
Currently in seventh in the final play-off place, Moors will attempt to address their inconsistent form with a trip to second-bottom AFC Fylde on Saturday (3pm).
Shan’s side will hope to repeat their heroics from November’s 3-1 victory – when Danny Wright, Paul McCallum and Howe all found the net inside the opening 25 minutes – in their trip to Mill Farm Stadium.