JERMAINE Hylton clinched a brace as Solihull Moors stormed to an emphatic 4-1 victory against Eastleigh at the Automated Technology Group Stadium on Saturday ahead of Tuesday night’s visit to Gateshead.
Fellow strikers Danny Wright and Nathan Blissett – who claimed his third goal in four games for his new side, got in on the act in a victory that took them to within six points of the summit of the National League table, with a game in hand on leaders Leyton Orient.
A couple of early chances saw Eastleigh’s Josh Hare keep Moors keeper Ryan Boot on his toes to match a far-post header, whilst Liam Daly was a danger at Darren Carter’s corner kick, but unable to hit the target with his header.
The deadlock was broken mid-way through the first-half, when Danny Wright expertly lifted the ball around both an Eastleigh defender and the goalkeeper Luke Southwood to create a gap in which to tap into an open net.
And it would only take ten minutes before Moors doubled their lead before the break.
Wright was involved yet again to turn provider, an Eastleigh defender failed to clear his header, instead allowing Blissett to get across, flick the ball into the air before acrobatically volleying past the keeper from close range.
Hylton’s teasing cross and a bending effort from Wright promised to further add to Solihull’s lead, but 2-0 was how the two sides went in at the break.
Moors continued to threaten after the interval and almost had a third via Kyle Storer, only to see Southwood tip away his audacious long-range hit, whilst Daly was in the right place to meet a cross but failed to loop his header inside the woodwork.
For all of the Moors’ domination and the one-sided nature of the chances created in the match, Eastleigh reduced the deficit to one.
Paul McCallum found himself in space to latch onto a loose ball and beat Boot to pull a goal back for the Hampshire side.
Any fear of a comeback was immediately quashed thanks to Hylton, who’s supporting run to allow Wright to square to him left for the simplest of finishes to quickly restore the two-goal cushion.
15 minutes later, Hylton recorded a brace when meeting Daly’s delivery from the right at the far-post to find the net with the easiest of headers to rubber stamp Solihull’s control of the game and the scoreline, putting the result beyond any doubt even with 20 minutes to play.
It was quite simply the Hylton show in the second-half, almost securing a hat-trick with a header from Jamie Reckord’s left-flank cross that glanced across the right-hand post, but it would have posed little frustration as victory took Solihull past the 50 point mark for the season – with bigger ambitions still lying in wait.
Moors first-team coach James Quinn was understandably in high spirits at full-time.
“I thought we were absolutely outstanding from goalkeeper to the three forwards. It’s as good of a performance since I’ve been at the club,” he admitted.
“We looked a threat every time we were going forward and were unlucky to not have been about four up at half time with the chances that we created.
“This bunch of lads that we’ve got in there, they don’t know when they’re beaten. They’re an incredibly hungry, honest bunch of lads.”
Looking ahead for the rest of the season after passing another milestone for the season, Quinn was optimistic of Moors’ chances.
“Did we think that we’d be in this position? Possibly not. I’ve seen a lot of teams get themselves in this position in January and not lose it.
“That’s what this league’s about. There are a lot of tough games and we’re going to be coming up against some good teams, but we’re hard to play against here and away.
“We’ll go to Gateshead on Tuesday, we’ll have a good go there and they’ll be in for a hell of a game. They’re a good team, but we believe we can take something from that.”
Proceedings at the Gateshead International Stadium kick off at 7:45pm.