FOOTBALL: A BUMPER crowd of 1,475 watched Solihull Moors come from behind to beat Chester 3-2 in what was a thrilling National League clash at the Automated Technology Group Stadium on Boxing Day, reports John Clothier.
Chester went into Monday’s match having not lost a league game since October 29 but they came up against a determined Moors side who has new signing Calum Flanagan on the bench although they were without Andy Brown, Nathan Vaughan and Ryan Beswick and Jamey Osborne.
Harry White almost gave the hosts a dream start as he surprised Lynch between the sticks for Chester with a close range shot in the opening minute but the keeper produced a stunning reactive save to push the ball away from danger.
On ten minutes a well judged corner to the back post was met by the head of Liam Daly but despite out jumping the huge Ryan Astles, the ball hit the side netting.
With Moors having the better of the early play fury erupted both on and off the pitch when with a quarter hour played Hunt launched himself at Shep Murombedzi with studs showing and referee O’Donnell, without hesitation, produced the red card.
Solihull seemed more distracted than their visitors and on 18 minutes Durrell found himself in space some 25 yards out, moved the ball onto his left foot and fired towards the far post and into the net to put the visitors 1-0 up.
Jack Byrne shot wide on the half hour mark and again the keeper did well to foil Daly’s header from a Byrne corner as Moors started to make their superiority in numbers count.
However there was a constant danger of being caught on the break and they were fortunate with ten minutes of the half left, that Durrell’s menacing cross in the 18 yard area found no Chester player available to take advantage.
There was more consternation from the Chester contingent in the last minute of the half when the referee awarded Moors a free kick 25 yards out and as Nortei Nortey drove a hard ball into the 18 yard box, it appeared to be handballed by Shaw and Omari Sterling-James curled a peach of a free kick into the top left hand corner of the net.
The hosts made a positive start to the second half with Murombedzi unable to capitalise on a 30 yard pass across the box from Sterling-James and then Daly missed a corner by a whisker as he rose highest in a packed defence.
Chester were left to rue a chance in the 54th minute as Alabi raced down the right flank but the pin point cross to Lloyd went begging from close range.
George Carline was looking more and more influential on the right and on 56 minutes his cross found White just beyond the six yard box and the Moors marksman looked up before smashing the ball passed Lynch to make it 2-1 to the hosts.
Chester might have clawed one back almost immediately when Chappell drove for goal 10 yards out but the ball was deflected for a corner.
With the game there to be won Moors were piling on the pressure with Byrne firing inches wide with a bullet from outside the area but they got a third goal soon after.
Sterling-James collected a through ball after beating the offside trap and rounded the keeper before executing a sublime shot at the tightest of angles into the far corner of the net for his second brace in the space of a week.
The visitors refused to give up their unbeaten record without a fight and four added minutes provided the back drop to a second goal which came from substitute Richards with the last kick of a pulsating match.
An eighth win of the season puts Moors on 30 points and the two teams renew battle on New Year’s Day in Chester.
Photos provided by Tom King