Unhappy Moors simply could not convert the numerous chances they had against Stalybridge as the visitors snatched a new year victory
Whilst Celtic are not enjoying the best of seasons, they put seven past Hyde on New Year’s Day and started full of confidence. They could have taken the lead almost from the kick-off when Ennis hit the side netting but that saw Moors galvanised with one-touch passing as they took the game to their visitors.
Reece Fleet shot straight at the keeper before a miscue from him in defence had Tony Breeden on his toes. It was Fleet again on 18 minutes hitting well from the edge of the box and forcing King into a good save. With crosses peppering the Stalybridge box Omar Bogle hit over the cross bar and a Ryan Beswick free-kick split the opposing defence but there were no yellow and blue shirts to capitalise. Beswick was there again on the half hour but was tackled before he could shoot from five yards. Darren Byfield was causing problems down the right flank, while Knights, on the end of a long Taundrey throw, watched it go agonisingly wide.
Breeden saved well from a weak shot from striker Cadman but, as the clock ticked away, was lucky to stay on the pitch when he upended Ennis in the penalty area after slack play from Moors in midfield saw Celtic quickly capitalise on a left side devoid of home players.
Referee Tankard pointed immediately to the spot as the Solihull keeper awaited his punishment. Thankfully, it was just a yellow card. Ennis dusted himself down to smash home the penalty, sending his team in one goal to the good at half-time.
Moors were straight out of the blocks as the second period started, with Byfield and Beswick going close, but were caught on the break on 50 minutes when McKenna’s cross eluded Elvins but found Holsgrove, who converted from close range.
Solihull hit back, throwing everything forward and with Michael Nottingham on for Elvins, Daly spearheaded the Moors front line. Beswick fired over, Stefan Moore’s goalbound effort hit a melee of legs, Byfield headed just wide and Bogle hit the cross bar.
However, they got their reward on 66 minutes when Taundrey’s long cross was controlled by Moore and, although his shot was parried by King, Knights roared in to drill home.
With the sleet turning to fog, the pressure continued as Celtic crowded their box and keeper King produced a series of breathtaking saves to deny Moors. With five minutes of added time, Bogle could have snatched it but King was in the way of his volley and Beswick’s last gasp shot hit the upright.
There is no game for the first team this coming Saturday but on Tuesday they entertain league leaders AFC Fylde at home (7.45pm). The defeat leaves them in seventh place and, although they are still in touch with the play-offs, this could not be a harder match with which to start the climb.
Moors’ reserve team does, however, have a match on Saturday at Coleshill Town. This is a MFL Reserve Division One Challenge Trophy Game at Coton Green FC, New Mill Lane, Fazeley, B78 3RX. Kick off 2pm.
Moors: Breeden, Taundrey, Gough, Fleet, Daly, Elvins (Nottingham), Byfield (Langdon), English (Moore), Bogle, Beswick, Knights. Subs not used: Chamberlain, Denny.