SOLIHULL Moors stay joint-top of the National League after coming from behind to beat bottom-side Braintree Town 2-1 at The Automated Technology Group Stadium.
Liam Daly and Adi Yussuf’s penalty earned a vital three points for Moors, taking them to 73 points for the season and equalling Leyton Orient’s tally – who were in FA Trophy duty at the weekend.
Manager Tim Flowers believed his side had to put in another hard-fought performance to earn the victory, but lamented the clinical edge that the Moors were missing.
“I thought it was scrappy as a game. It was similar to the Gateshead game in terms of the conditions.
“We created plenty of chances in the first half without converting. We passed up too many pretty decent chances.
“We went behind – I can’t see if it’s offside. Nevertheless, it was a scrappy goal and we’ve had to fight our way from going behind which isn’t easy.
He did however, accept the importance of the three points and the implications that it could have on their season.
“We’re in a position where results are huge for us and it’s a tough one, but we bounced back.
“In the end, it was a penalty kick that won us the game.”
Moors fielded the same team that had edged past Gateshead last Tuesday, but with Terry Hawkridge coming in for Jamey Osborne in midfield.
They threatened with early chances and were a goal-line clearance away from leading through Nathan Blissett’s header, which was hacked away by ex-Solihull man Courtney Richards.
Jermaine Hylton then cut in from the left to fire low at goal, but found his shot batted away by the legs of Braintree keeper Ben Killip.
The visitors then took a 22nd minute lead in bizarre circumstances to stun the Moors.
Against the run of play, Richards beat two men and was pulled back after he had been fouled, only for Solihull to switch off as the referee decided to play advantage.
Korrey Henry had the simplest of finishes after receiving Richards’ pass and rounding Ryan Boot to slot home.
Moors looked to respond instantly and threw numbers forward, forcing chances through Jamie Reckord’s free-kick, whilst Blissett had a strike deflected wide.
Danny Wright went closest to levelling when sending the ball onto the crossbar from Lee Vaughan’s cross, but Liam Daly’s thumping header brought reprieve before the break.
Bursting into position to meet Darren Carter’s free-kick, he found the net from close-range to tie the game at 1-1.
Hylton could have sent his side in a goal to the good at break, had his lob over the onrushing Killip been on target.
The hosts continued in the same vein searching for a second after half-time, almost doing so when Wright latched onto Reckord’s through ball, followed by an opening for Blissett, who could not put the chance away.
Cameron James fluffed a golden chance when failing to test Boot in the Moors goal, whilst Hylton was unable to capitalise on Hawkridge’s pull-back from Kyle Storer’s free-kick.
The decision to drag Hylton off for the fresh legs of Yussuf proved a decisive one by full-time.
Going through on goal in a one-on-one with Killip, the substitution was wiped out by the keeper as the referee pointed straight to the spot.
By the time Killip received treatment for the collision, Yussuf put the resulting penalty away for the all-important lead.
Blissett had a chance to extend the lead, but equally a lapse of concentration from Boot almost proved costly down the other end when dealing with a back pass – fortunately the ball was cleared to safety.
Solihull visit FC Halifax Town on Saturday (3pm), a side who will prove a real test at The Shay.
The visiting Moors know how tough the task at hand will be, given the two draws in the league and FA Trophy already this season, whilst a replay in the Trophy was only edged by the odd goal.