FOOTBALL: A BRACE from debutant Jermaine Hylton and an 85th minute winner from Joel Kettle helped edge Solihull Moors to victory in their latest pre-season friendly against Walsall, writes Luke Turner.
It proved to be Moors’ third pre-season win on the spin following wins against Barwell and Highgate last week.
Saturday’s five-goal thriller provided Moors with their toughest task of the season yet though as the League One outfit took the lead just three minutes into the game.
Mazaik Kouhyar jinked in and out of the Moors defence before firing a low effort past Nathan Vaughan and into the corner.
Walsall almost doubled their lead moments later when Erhun Oztumer found a yard of space before playing a neat ball through to Simeon Jackson.
The striker’s low shot was well saved by Vaughan though.
Moors’ first clear-cut chance came prior to the half-hour mark as George Carline’s pass deflected its way to Hylton, who dragged his shot wide of the near post.
Carline – who was struggling with an injury – was soon subbed off for youngster Jack Edwards.
And the substitute almost made an immediate impact as he met a deep in-swinging corner from Darren Carter, but his downward header was easily claimed by Liam Roberts.
Moors’ lack of chances in the opening half was soon corrected as Liam McDonald’s side reacted to a completely different Walsall XI.
The away side started the second period on top as Keiron Morris caused problems early on when cutting in from the right-hand side.
Joe Edwards saw his volley go just over the bar before Jordan Sangha curled an effort inches off-target as Moors weathered the storm.
Against the run of play, McDonald’s men then equalised as a long throw-in met the head of Edwards whose effort came back off the underside of the bar before Hylton nodded home from close range.
The former Swindon Town man then added his second of the game to put Moors into the lead with just under half-an-hour to play.
A short back pass from Sangha was capitalised on by Hylton as he rounded Mark Gillespie and two defenders on the line before slotting home from close range.
That was the 24-year-old’s final bit of action of an impressive debut as he was replaced by a trialist shortly after.
Moors Academy star Tyrese Shade entered the fray and showed the neat bits of skill and pace that have earned the youngster a trial at Leicester City.
Walsall levelled the scoreline in the 81st minute as Edwards hit a thunderbolt of a shot that flew past Matt Hill and into the net.
Moors weren’t done yet though as they regained the lead with just five minutes left on the clock.
A low Tom Tonks free kick was flicked into the net by Kettle to ensure Moors came out victorious in an entertaining pre-season affair.
Next up for Moors is a test against Championship side Burton Albion at The Automated Technology Stadium tomorrow night, July 18, at 7.30pm.
Pictures: Steve Feeney.