By Jamie Arrowsmith Wednesday 12 December 2012 Updated: 17/12 12:22
Solihull Moors 1 Stalybridge Celtic 0
SOLIHULL Moors warmed up for the biggest game in their short history by defeating Stalybridge Celtic at Damson Park on Saturday.
Marcus Bignot’s men head to Conference Premier outfit Wrexham on Saturday (3pm) in the second round of the FA Trophy and will go there in confident mood after stretching their unbeaten run in the league to seven matches, a run that has seen them climb to 11th place in the table.
Stalybridge went into the game on the back of four consecutive away defeats but started the better when Mitchell Austin was put through on goal by Adam Pepper inside the first minute, only to be denied by Moors keeper Jas Singh.
Moors first shot of the afternoon came in the tenth minute when Dominic Langdon’s long throw was headed goalwards by Reece Fleet but Alex Cairns made a comfortable save.
The game entered a period of stalemate as the two sides tried to figure each other out. Celtic were happy to try and play direct balls to Austin whilst Moors provided Dior Angus and Omar Bogle with plenty of possession but chances were at a premium.
Cairns had a couple of scares with backpasses in the dying seconds of the half before saving well from Bogle’s close-range effort to ensure the sides went in level at the break.
As in the first half, Stalybridge almost scored instantly at the start of the second when after a good counter-attack, Lewis Hatch and Austin combined to feed the incoming Tom Buckley but he dragged his shot wide.
The game’s only goal arrived in the 64th minute when Junior English controlled a throw from the right, turned his marker and crossed to the far post where Langdon was on hand to convert.
Moments later a brilliant run down the right from Angus almost brought further reward but as the game entered the final ten minutes, Moors still only had the slenderest of leads.
Singh produced a stunning save in the 81st minute from substitute Jordan Barow’s fierce effort and Celtic’s final chance ended up in side netting when Greg Wilkinson tried his luck with an 87th minute free kick.
Back at the other end, Cairns made a fantastic double save from Bogle and substitute Andre Francis to prevent Moors from adding to their advantage but Langdon’s strike proved enough to give the hosts another three points.
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