SOLIHULL Moors will hope that a trip to Sutton United can offer them some respite on Saturday (3pm), following two disappointing defeats in the National League and Birmingham Senior Cup in the past week.
Last weekend’s 2-0 home defeat to Boreham Wood, when Sorba Thomas and Kane Smith scored in either half to deal a blow to Moors’ promotion hopes, was compounded by a surprising 6-2 loss to Southern League Premier Central side Tamworth in Tuesday’s cup game at the Lamb Ground.
The midweek thrashing was made all the more dumbfounding when considering all six of Tamworth’s goals came in the first half, before Alex Gudger and Darren Carter struck late on to save some face in the quarter-final tie.
A positive start by the visitors gave a false implication for how the game would pan out, as Mitch Hancox’s header, followed by Danny Wright’s deflected strike, kept Lambs goalkeeper Jas Singh busy in the early exchanges.
Tamworth’s seventh-minute opener quickly changed the outlook of the tie, however, when Dan Creaney finished off a counter-attack by beating debutant Andy Wycherley with a low effort.
The second goal, also scored by Creaney, arrived from the spot after Wycherley brought down teammate Ahmed Obeng inside the penalty area.
By the half-hour mark it was three as the game progressively drifted out of reach for Tim Flowers’ side.
This time it was Henri Wilder’s turn to find the net, rounding the Moors ‘keeper for a simple finish.
Hancox went close to bringing the Moors back into the game with a strike that clashed against the outside of the post and went wide, before Tamworth’s clinical forwards resumed normal service.
Obeng slipped home the fourth underneath Wycherley – whose debut continued to go from bad to worse after conceding twice more before the half was out.
Wilder fired low into the corner for number five, before wrapping up his hat-trick and putting an end to the first-half blitz on Solihull’s goal by finishing clinically inside the penalty area.
The rout looked set to continue after the break when substitute Dilano Reid rattled the visitors’ crossbar, which, fortunately for the away side, proved the last real attempt on their goal.
Flowers’ men did register on the scoreboard after enjoying some chances towards the tail end of the encounter, pulling two goals back from Gudger’s close-range header and Carter’s accurate strike into the corner.
In Saturday’s defeat at the SportNation.bet Stadium, a lack of a foothold in the game was behind Solihull’s downfall, according to Flowers.
“For 45 minutes I just thought we were way off what we’re about,” he said.
“We didn’t show any aptitude to get hold of the ball, it didn’t stick up front and we didn’t win many first contacts. We certainly didn’t win the second balls and get higher up the pitch and play.
“I don’t think we really showed any inclination to get our foot on the ball in midfield, and to move it and get some quality in behind or in the wide areas.”
Ryan Boot had to be alert to deny Kabongo Tshimanga with a sliding challenge as the forward bore down on goal, while Gavin Gunning – who has since left the club after mutually terminating his contract – swung in a corner that allowed Paul McCallum to sting the fingertips of Nathan Ashmore.
Wood had a 33rd-minute lead when Keiran Murtagh got in behind the hosts’ defence before squaring for Thomas to finish at the far post.
A second arrived in the 68th minute following Smith’s spectacular drive that flew past Boot and into the net.
Moors were down to ten men a minute later when Gudger’s tackle was deemed dangerous by referee Joe Hull, though the hosts managed to shut out the visitors thereafter.