FOOTBALL: SOLIHULL Moors failed to ease their National League relegation worries after collapsing to an embarrassing 9-0 defeat away at Tranmere Rovers, which leaves them sitting just three points above the drop zone, reports John Clothier.
Cole Stockton and Connor Jennings both scored hat-tricks has Tranmere ran riot at Prenton Park to consign Moors to their biggest ever defeat.
Moors’ task on Saturday was not helped with Liam Daly, Shep Murombedzi and Calum Flanagan all unavailable, while Charles Regan Cook was also missing following his recent sending off.
In the bright sunshine, Moors made a relatively bright start but only just survived a wake up call on ten minutes when defensive mix-up left Stockton in space on the edge of the box and his chip over Danny Lewis was denied by the cross bar.
Lewis saved well from Norwood as Rovers started to gain momentum, while Moors had a good chance when keeper Davies and skipper McNulty seemed to collide but a wayward header landed the wrong side of the post of the open goal.
On 19 minutes Moors were completely undone as Tranmere broke from defence with wing back Ridehalgh hitting a perfect long ball down the left flank and Stockton passed it to Norwood as the big striker ran into the six yard box to produce a bullet header past Lewis.
Stockton headed Vaughan’s cross over but got another chance on 26 minutes when Ridehalgh found him in oceans of space on the edge of the box and he blasted an unstoppable shot into the corner of the net.
When Jennings was fouled in the box a minute later it took all the brilliance of Lewis to deny Stockton his hat trick from the penalty spot and that save spurred Moors into life.
George Carline was off target with a 25 yard shot and Nortei Nortey got on the end of Sammon’s long free kick he struck his effort and wide and things soon got worse for the visitors.
In the final minute of the half Stockton completed his hat-trick by beating two defenders and side-footing the ball past Lewis to give Tranmere a comfortable 3-0 lead at half-time.
Jennings fired in a low drive from well outside the box and it caught Lewis by surprise as it nestled into the back of the net just five minutes into the second half and he doubled his tally when he met a decent corner from Hughes and headed home from close range to make it 5-0.
Lewis made two great saves as Rovers continued to pile on the pressure and on 70 minutes substitute Andy Cook got his name on the scoresheet when he powerfully headed Vaughan’s cross from close range.
Sammons saw his free kick well saved by Davies however the afternoon went from bad to worse six minutes from time when a curling free kick from Ridehalgh found the net and just before added on time, Jennings got his hat-trick thanks to a superb solo effort, finishing with a blast from 18 yards.
There was still time for substitute Collins to make it nine in added on time to complete the rout and consign Moors to their biggest ever defeat as they matched the worst scoreline in National League history.
Moors slip to 18th in the league just three places and three points above the drop zone with just four games remaining, starting with a home clash against York City on Good Friday.
Attendance: 5,001 (85 away)
Team: Lewis, Franklin, Kettle, Sammons ©, Green, Maye, Afolayan (Shade), White (Brown) Sterling James (Jack Byrne), Carling, Nortey.
Subs not Used – Sanusi, Baxter
Photos courtesy of Tom King