MATCH PREVIEW | Spennymoor Town vs Solihull Moors

Four days on from their dramatic penalty shootout win over Gainsborough Trinity, Spennymoor Town are back in FA Trophy action as they welcome National League strugglers Solihull Moors.

In what has been dubbed ‘Battle of The Moors’, Jason Ainsley and his side face opposition higher on the league ladder for the first time this season, albeit Solihull are only six places above Spennymoor.

Under the guidance of Mark Yates, who took over the National League outfit in November, Solihull have had an upturn in form. Since his arrival, they have picked up 13 points in 10 games after only amassing 11 points from their first 19 fixtures.

They banished memories of their harrowing 9-0 defeat to Tranmere Rovers in April by defeating the National League high-flyers 2-0 in the First Round, and drew with top of the table Macclesfield Town in their last league outing.

Yates deserves great credit for stopping a run of form which had an alarming sense of doom attached to it, with the former Birmingham and Kidderminster player steadying up a defence which leaked goals early in the campaign.

Moors are on a winning streak of four games for the first time since last April, a run of form which ended with promotion, so a fifth victory on the spin would signify the quality of the current squad.

The game will go straight to extra-time and penalties after both sides agreed against a replay.

STATS CENTRE

  • Glen Taylor has scored five times in his last six appearances in all competitions, and seven in his last ten since November 4th.
  • Moors have won 10 of their last 15 games in all competitions (67%).
  • Solihull have won 13 points in ten games under Mark Yates, as appose to 11 points in their previous 19 without him.
  • They have lost the most games in the National League this season (17).

SPENNYMOOR TEAM NEWS

Jamie Chandler, who missed Tuesday night’s First Round tie against Gainsborough, should be available for selection.

ONE TO WATCH – Oladapo Afolayan

Clinical forward Afolayan has found the net 10 times for Moors in the league this campaign. He has certainly had an interesting journey to Solihull. He was signed by the club last February from Loughborough University having played in Toronto, Canada, earlier in his career.

Premier League interest was rife when he netted four times in his first four starts for the club, with Swansea and Leicester among a host of top tier clubs raising an interest. Aside from football, he is due to complete an engineering degree next year.

VIEW FROM THE PRESS BOX

To get to this round we had to navigate one of the longest running saga’s in footballing history (surely?) against Gainsborough Trinity. The weather gods were seemingly insistent on not letting our game against Trinity go ahead as the tie was postponed a staggering four times and just about survived a potential fifth cancellation! Snow, ice and water all prevented us from attempting to play a game which was finally contested a full 25 days after the original date. And my word it was worth the wait! On what was a Baltic night in County Durham, the action on the pitch lit up from the first whistle to the last. We twice threw away a lead in the first half before falling behind to Ashley Worsfold’s third goal against Moors this season. He is a fan of The Brewery Field evidently!

The introduction of Ryan Hall, who has hit a fine streak of form lately, boosted Moors’ attacking threat, and the winger scored one of the goals of the season when he cut in and unleashed a rasping drive from 25-yards. That goal sounded the extra time klaxon, and Glen Taylor soon got in on the act to give Moors a deserved advantage. But, a spirited side who are yet to be put to the sword by Moors in 90 minutes this campaign, equalised again when Alex Simmons dribbled a shot past Shane Bland.

At this stage, my fingers and toes were numbing, but the action on the field was enough to keep my mind off the arctic conditions. A penalty shootout was a cruel way to decide such a thrilling contest, but ultimately, a brilliant save from Bland was the difference as Andrew Johnson sent Moors through to today’s tie. A night to remember and one of the craziest games you are bound to see! We have nothing to fear in terms of the game today. It’s time for the National League to see what Spennymoor are all about!

GAFFERS THOUGHTS

We have had them watched and prepared well like we usually do, so we know a bit about their strengths and weaknesses. They are a big and strong side whose results have picked up over the past few weeks, and it’s vital we don’t look at their current position in the table and take anything for granted.

Their new manager has taken them to the next level and it’s a great opportunity to see where we are and how far we have come as a club.”