Match report: Solihull Moors 2-0 Grimsby Town

Grimsby Town were beaten on the road as a goal in each half gave Solihull Moors all three points at the Armco Arena.

Adam Rooney’s early strike put the home side ahead and the Mariners struggled to gain momentum as they looked for a way back into the game before half-time.

Town built pressure after the break and seemed the more likely to score the next goal but after a Shaun Pearson header from a corner was cleared off the line, they were caught on the break as substitute Joe Sbarra raced clear to make it 2-0 and settle the contest.

New signing Sam Bell went straight into the Grimsby starting XI after joining on a short-term loan from Bristol City on Monday.

The striker replaced Giles Coke in what was the only change to the line-up after Friday night’s home win against Southend United.

James McKeown started in goal, with Michee Efete, Pearson, Luke Waterfall and Adam Crookes forming the defence. Erico Sousa, Ben Fox, Alex Hunt and Harry Clifton were the midfielders, with Bell joining Ryan Taylor in attack.

Coke was selected on the bench, along with Will Bapaga, John McAtee, Seb Revan and Ryley Towler.

Solihull were looking to get back to winning ways after a home defeat by league-leaders Chesterfield on Saturday.

They came into the game knowing a victory would take them to within three points of the Mariners in the National League table and would look to the likes of former Aberdeen and Salford City striker Rooney for firepower.

Bell got an early opportunity to show his pace as he linked up with Taylor, before Clifton had the first chance of the game for the Mariners but saw his shot saved by keeper Ryan Boot.

The deadlock was broken on seven minutes as the hosts took the lead. A spell of possession led to an attack down the right and when James Clarke’s cross found ROONEY, he picked his spot and beat McKeown.

Bell got in behind the Solihull defence to reach a ball from Taylor on 12 minutes as Town looked to respond, although his shot was cleared from danger.

A strike from Taylor was blocked soon afterwards, before the home side were forced into an early substitution after an injury to defender Callum Howe. He was replaced by Reiss McNally.

Efete won a corner on 23 minutes and from it, Pearson’s powerful header was cleared off the line for another one. This time, Hunt’s low delivery was cleared but Pearson did well to run the ball down and win a throw-in.

A home free kick on the half-hour led to a corner as Jordan Cranston’s ball was turned behind by Waterfall.

The ball from the flag was cleared by Waterfall and after Town launched an attack through Efete, he was fouled by James Ball, who was shown the first yellow card of the game for the challenge.

Sousa did well to get a cross in from the right and win a corner on 34 minutes and Hunt’s delivery from the flag found Waterfall but he could only head just over the bar.

Fox missed the target five minutes later with a shot which went wide, before Pearson was penalised for bringing down Ryan Barnett, although the hosts were unable to create any danger from the free kick.

Sousa was booked for a foul just before the half moved into three minutes of added time and Efete won a corner in the second of them but Hunt’s delivery was caught by keeper Boot.

Another corner came in the closing seconds of the half but again, Boot claimed the ball from it to ensure Solihull’s single-goal advantage remained intact at the break.

No further changes were made by either side before the restart and an early corner for Solihull came when Barnett’s cross was turned behind by Waterfall. The near-post delivery was pushed away by McKeown.

A cross from Clifton on 56 minutes was headed away and Efete’s follow-up cross was put behind for a corner, which did not lead to a goalscoring opportunity as the ball was cleared following Waterfall’s attempted overhead kick.

Sbarra replaced Andrew Dallas in the home side’s second substitution on 58 minutes, before McAtee came on for Sousa in Town’s first change.

Bell did well to win a corner but Hunt’s ball from it was cleared. Town kept possession and launched another attack, although it came to an end when the referee blew for a foul by Taylor.

A Solihull corner on 62 minutes was headed clear, before Fox linked up with the overlapping McAtee to set up a Town attack. McAtee cut into the box and pulled the ball back but it was cleared from danger.

A Mariners corner came soon afterwards as the visitors continued to push forward but the ball from the flag was cleared.

A chance came on 67 minutes when Taylor found Efete on the edge of the box. The right-back’s shot was saved by keeper Boot and from the resulting corner, Pearson’s header was blocked on the line and the ball was cleared before Taylor could get to the rebound.

Town were looking the more likely to score but when the game’s second goal came seconds after Pearson’s chance, it was Solihull who doubled their advantage. A quick break led to a two-on-two situation and SBARRA ran clear from his own half before beating McKeown with a low shot.

Bapaga replaced Bell for Town immediately after the goal, before Fox and Crookes became the latest names to go into the referee’s notebook as they were yellow-carded for fouls.

McKeown produced a good save from Barnett after Sbarra created an opening down the right, before a home free kick was dealt with after a foul by Pearson.

Town won a corner on 82 minutes after a cross from Efete was put behind. Waterfall headed Hunt’s ball back across goal from it but Boot was there to claim the catch.

McAtee saw a shot blocked, then an attempt by Hunt was deflected away for another corner. This time, Taylor headed on from Hunt’s delivery but the referee spotted a foul and gave a free kick to Solihull.

Sbarra saw a shot blocked on 89 minutes after Barnett pulled the ball back for him as the hosts looked for a third goal.

Four added minutes were played and Solihull saw the remainder of the game out to claim the points as the Mariners were left to taste defeat.

Town are next in action on Saturday, when second-placed Boreham Wood are the visitors to Blundell Park.


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