FOOTBALL: A LATE Ryan Bird header proved to be the difference between Dover Athletic and Solihull Moors as Liam McDonald’s men slipped to a 1-0 away defeat.
Bird netted past Moors keeper Nathan Vaughan with just nine minutes of play remaining as Solihull found themselves on the wrong side of a tight encounter at Crabble.
The hosts started brightly with Bird and Mitch Brundle both trying their luck in the opening exchanges, failing to hit the target.
A Mitch Pinnock free-kick from 18-yards out forced the first save of the game as Vaughan tipped over to keep the scoreline level.
Moors then looked to apply some pressure of their own as skipper Darren Carter took aim, but his shot towards the far corner was forced wide by Mitch Walker.
It was then the turn of Shepherd Murombedzi to try his luck from the edge of the area following some neat build up play from Oladapo Afolayan. The midfielder took aim but was denied by Walker who palmed away once again as the half ended scoreless.
McDonald’s side began the second-half with the intent to find that breakthrough.
Left-back Joe Payne picked the ball up on the halfway line and travelled towards goal, his shot from distance flashed just wide of the post.
Courtney Richards then played a pinpoint cross-field pass to Murombedzi who cut inside and unleased a strike that was well saved by Walker.
The home side went close after Brundle ran from his own half before seeing a shot deflected off Joel Kettle that dropped inches wide of the post.
But with less than ten minutes remaining, the deadlock was broken by Chris Kinnear’s team.
Paul Lewis’ cross was met by Bird who made no mistake, heading in from a few yards out.
The Moors pushed for an equaliser in the dying stages as Carter saw a free-kick sail over the bar before goalkeeper Vaughan found himself in the opposition penalty area, heading wide from a corner.
That proved to be the final chance for Solihull as Dover held on to claim a narrow victory to send them top of the Vanarama National League, leaving Moors second from bottom.
Images by Tom King.