Solihull Moors 1 FC Halifax 2
WHAT a relief! Solihull Moors retained their Blue Square North status on Saturday by the skin of their teeth - and they have Stalybridge’s 4-2 defeat of Hinckley to thank for it.
And manager Marcus Bignot has already started planning for next year after the tightest finish in many a season.
“Of course I’m relieved. We lost the first seven games, then became promotion contenders then we hit a brick wall towards the end of season, which is a bit of a Solihull Moors tradition,” he said.
“It’s been the most competitive season the club has ever been involved in and, given the circumstances, our survival must be the big positive.”
Those circumstances include the departure of Bignot’s predecessor Micky Moore, his own late arrival, a crippling loss of revenue from their car park, a drop in income after their groundshare rugby partners Bees were relegated and an overall reduction in revenue.
Now, following another relegation for Bees, the likelihood is that groundshare deal will end.
“We have got through,” said Bignot, “and now myself, the chairman and the board have the chance to move forward and build upon solid foundations for next season.”
Chairman Nigel Collins was full of praise for his young manager: “Marcus deserves full credit,” he said, “he is a fantastic manager and next year he will have a full year too, so it will be down to him.
“I have worked with many managers in my time and Marcus rates amongst the very best.”
Key to their success will be the size of the gate - against FC Halifax over 700 fans turned up - and Bignot is already casting his eye over strikers and creative midfielders to make sure the football on offer at Damson Park is an attractive offering.
l Against play-off place chasing FC Halifax on Saturday it was very much backs to the wall.
If the first goal was conceded in unlucky circumstances - Solihull’s goalkeeper Jas Singh appeared to be fouled - it was no more than the visitors deserved.
Sean Clancy then made it two before Junior English was brought down in the box and Craig Hinton hammered home the penalty. In the end it was the visitors hanging on, but with the result from Hinkcley already known, everyone went home happy at the final whistle.