SOLIHULL Moors manager Tim Flowers says his side know exactly what they’ve “got to do”, ahead of a home semi-final in the National League play-offs against either Harrogate Town or AFC Fylde on Saturday (12:30pm).
Moors finished in a highest-ever position of second, after a 1-1 draw away to Dagenham & Redbridge.
Leyton Orient won the title and promotion to League Two after a 0-0 draw at home to Braintree Town, whilst Salford City dropped below the Moors into third, after a 3-2 defeat to Hartlepool United on the final day of the season.
Moors learned of their semi-final opponents after last night’s (Wednesday) quarter-final, and know that a trip to Wembley is just one game from their reach – with promotion to the Football League the prize on the line.
Flowers said his team selection against Dagenham reflected his desire to reserve players for the play-offs, and feels the game proved a productive one.
“We changed the team round – we felt that some needed a game and some had been carrying injuries.
“It’s a good result. We couldn’t win the league today anyway, so I wanted to finish second if we could.
He stated that Moors’ record finish defies belief, but urges his side to push on for greater glory.
“It’s incredible. I don’t think anyone could’ve even believed it. It’s a wonderful, wonderful effort, but it isn’t the end of the season.
“We’re now going to get totally focused on a one-game shootout. We’ll know what we’ve got to do.”
Flowers made seven changes from the team that took on Leyton Orient, but with several injuries in the side, a changing of the guard was welcomed.
Ryan Boot, as ever, remained an ever-present in the Solihull team.
Moors had an opening chance inside ten minutes, when Harry Flowers’ free-kick was headed towards goal by Liam Daly, though goalkeeper Elliott Justham was equal to it.
Lee Vaughan directed an effort towards the top corner, but again, Justham was alert to the danger – plucking the shot out of the air.
A 0-0 scoreline at half-time was soon broken when the Daggers delivered a killer blow, taking the lead within a minute of the restart.
Boot came out to deal with a long ball upfield, but his punch fell only as far as Conor Wilkinson, who lobbed the ball into the net.
Solihull were not fazed by the set-back, and resumed their hunt for a goal, although Wilkinson’s audacious chip this time hit the upright and bounced to safety.
Hylton pulled the Moors back on level terms on 55 minutes after attempting a one-two with Nathan Blissett, which was intercepted by Nathan Smith but only back into the forward’s path to tap home.
But as soon as Moors found a leveller, they were on the brink of going behind for a second time.
A penalty awarded to the hosts following Flowers’ barge on Wilkinson allowed Angelo Balanta the opportunity to give the Daggers the lead, but for a stunning save by Boot – who went the right way.
Justham was on hand to deny Flowers’ flick from a free-kick moments later, whilst Balanta squandered another opportunity from a good posiition.
Tyrone Williams also wasted a chance at a set-piece, heading over in the dying moments.
But it took the reactions of Daly to claim a point in the end, as he was well positioned to head off the line from Ollie Harfield’s strike, ensuring the game finished 1-1.
Moors have announced that Saturday’s semi-final at the Automated Technology Group Stadium will be an all-ticket fixture, and urge all supporters to purchase their tickets in advance ahead of the game.
Tickets start from £15 for adults, £10 for concessions, £5 for under-18s and free for under-12s (with a paying adult).