MOORS assistant manager Gary Whild remained upbeat after ten-man Solihull dropped points at the weekend, but rescued a late draw thanks to Tyrone Williams’ strike at the death against Dover Athletic.
The hosts twice went behind, but responded each time, despite Liam Daly’s 49th minute red card with the scoreline at 2-1 in favour of the visitors.
Whild expressed his thoughts on a contentious penalty call which could have edged it for Solihull, but despite the spot kick not being awarded, was delighted with the determination to rescue a result.
“Going down to 10-men is a big disadvantage but, when we went down to ten, I thought we were the better team.
“We worked our socks off and deservedly got a draw.
“I’ve looked at the penalty decision again and it was a nailed on penalty. Fair credit to the lads – when they went down to 10-men, I thought they were fantastic.”
Dover made their intentions clear from the very first whistle, when finding the net after just four minutes.
Bobby-Joe Taylor’s cross fell to Alfie Pavey, who lashed home from close-range, to the bottom-half side’s delight.
Moors had a convincing claim for a penalty turned down, after Danny Wright was felled inside the penalty area, but the referee decided against the Moors protests and waved play on.
They followed up with a decent opening created from a long punt upfield, which was brought down by Nathan Blissett and sent through to Darren Carter, who could only fire into the gloves of Dover keeper Lee Worgan.
The next opportunity forced him into a superb stop however, when Wright sent a bullet header from Jamey Osborne’s corner on target, which was tipped over by the visiting custodian.
Moors did get the goal that their good play had merited just before half-time, levelling through Wright.
He was on hand to tap-in on the rebound after Osborne’s initial shot was parried away – in a move created and finished by the Solihull talisman.
A half-time team-talk at 1-1 would have set up for an assault on finding a go-ahead goal in the second-half.
Those plans were dashed when Dover had other ideas – finding the net for a second time before the break.
Taylor’s free-kick was menacing, and despite being kept out by Ryan Boot, the follow-up fell to Alfie Doe, who tucked the ball home.
Moors defender Daly had an interesting few moments after the second-half commenced, first glancing Osborne’s long throw wide of the post, before receiving two yellow cards in quick succession after challenging for a high ball – leaving Solihull very much in the lurch.
Jermaine Hylton almost came to his side’s rescue when his deceiving cross curled goalwards and had to be headed off the line.
Despite having a man-disadvantage, it prompted Moors to be more precise with their build-up and they enjoyed a number of forrays into Dover’s final third.
Osborne went down for the most convincing penalty appeal of the afternoon, after cutting inside and getting caught by a trailing leg – but the referee viewed it as a dive by the Moors midfielder and showed the yellow card.
Worgan had to stay composed to keep hold of Hylton’s thunderous hit, and although he did go on to spill Osborne’s long-range drive moments later, the offside flag was raised with Hylton closing in on the rebound.
A stunning effort from Dover substitute Anthony Jeffrey looked destined to hit the back of the net, but flew narrowly wide.
Loanee Joe Sbarra emerged from the bench for his home debut, impressing in the closing stages with a centred ball for Blissett that was flicked wide.
Solihull claimed their deserved point in injury time, when George Carline’s long throw was slung into the box and eventually stabbed past the keeper by the boot of Williams.
As a result of the dropped points and with Salford City beating Bromley, Moors drop to third, albeit just a point behind the Greater Manchester club.
Leyton Orient’s 0-0 draw with Barnet ensures that Solihull do not lose any further ground on the leaders, but with a two-point deficit to chase and with Orient having two games in hand, it looks unlikely that the league title will be achievable.
Moors next head to 13th-placed Hartlepool on Saturday (3pm), as they attempt to end their three-match winless streak.