Solihull Moors 2
WHEN the visiting goalkeeper scores the winning goal, you know things are not going well.
Solihull Moors won the battle of the bottom two in a poor game at Plainmoor and the visitors snatched the lead early in the second half.
United were slowly getting some rhythm when a freak goal arrived, as custodian Nathan Vaughan launched a goal-kick into the sky, which took one bounce over Dan Lavercombe and nestled in the corner.
Jon-Paul Pittman pulled a goal back in the next minute but there was no escape for the Gulls, and five defeats on the trot is a very worrying statisitic.
The only change in the United starting line-up was the return of local favourite Lavercombe in goal to replace the injured Ryan Clarke. Lavercombe was brought back to Plainmoor in a loan deal from Wigan Athletic.
Caretaker boss Robbie Herrera was able to name an unchanged outfield 10, with Pittman passing a late fitness test and a number of players recovering from niggles sustained in the agonising late defeat at Guiseley last weekend.
Solihull suffered similar frustration seven days ago, going down 1-0 at home to Halifax and with sought after striker Oladapo Afolayan missing a penalty for the Moors. One familiar face for the Midlands outfit was former United winger Shepherd Murombedzi.
A bright enough start from United saw Jake Gosling and Jamie Reid popping up in awkward areas for the Solihull defence, with one particular move ending with a cutback to Gosling, who was denied a shot on goal by a strong challenge from Fiacre Kelleher.
Leading scorer Ruairi Keating was presented with a far more attractive opportunity on 10 minutes in the left channel but his left-footed shot back across goal was fairly comfortable for goalkeeper Vaughan.
United turned on the style on 25 minutes with a lovely cushioned header from Keating into the path of Gosling, who attempted a clever dink to Jamie Reid when a shot seemed the better option.
The clearance went straight to Sam Chaney at left-back and he forced his way down the line before a super chipped cross for the head of Keating, but credit to Vaughan for an excellent save with his legs.
A brief lull ensued before Ryan Higgins fed the ball inside for a grasscutter from Gosling just wide of the near post but it was a momentary glimpse of excitement in a game that had descended into a rather dull affair.
The encouragement for United was no save for Lavercombe to make but there was a need for more zest and tempo in attacking areas.
What happened next was definitely not in the script, as Solihull won a corner in the opening minute of the second period. The set-piece was actually a mis-hit from Afolayan but, such is United’s luck at present, it still led to a goal.
Darren Carter stretched out a leg to divert the skidding corner and Lavercombe produced a super save tipping the ball on to the bar, but Campbell was in the right place to bundle home a scruffy goal.
United gradually recovered from the shock and a pass wide from Jon-Paul Pittman allowed Reid to stretch his legs, and cut inside for a low shot that just flicked the outside of the Solihull post. The first change arrived moments later with Chaney limping off to be replaced by Myles Anderson.
There was no question, however, that the more confident football was coming from Solihull and Campbell was only narrowly off target with a curling shot with the outside of his boot. Damon Lathrope was now hobbling for the Gulls and withdrawn for James Gray.
The next opportunity came from a Luke Young corner perfectly delivered to the centre of the area but Anderson failed to divert his bullet header toward goal.
Young looked the most likely source of a recovery and it was his driving run through the middle, and pass wide to Pittman that created room for a shot back across goal tipped wide by Vaughan.
Somehow, it got worse for United, as Solihull ‘keeper Vaughan launched a long goal-kick forward and Lavercombe completely misjudged the bounce, as the ball bounced agonisingly over his head for a second goal to the visitors.
Rory Fallon immediately replaced Reid and it was game on again in the next minute, as Pittman gathered the ball on the edge of the box, cleverly rolled his man and arrowed a low drive into the far corner for some home hope.
It was now all-out attack and another well delivered corner from Young picked out Keating’s dart to the near post, but Vaughan went back to his day job of preventing goals with a smart save to his left.
There was nothing left from United and we need to pick ourselves up quickly for the Bank Holiday trip to Woking.
United (4-4-2): 21 Daniel Lavercombe; 23 Ryan Higgins, 18 Yan Klukowski, 5 Sean McGinty, 7 Sam Chaney (14 Myles Anderson 56); 11 Jake Gosling, 8 Luke Young (capt), 4 Damon Lathrope (17 James Gray 63), 19 Jamie Reid (16 Rory Fallon 74); 9 Jon-Paul Pittman, 10 Ruairi Keating. Substitutes (not used): 20 Neal Osborn (GK), 22 Andy Haworth.
Booked: Keating 87
Solihull Moors (4-4-2): 23 Nathan Vaughan; 2 Kristian Green, 5 Joel Kettle, 30 Fiacre Kelleher, 12 Jordan Liburd; 7 Shepherd Murombedzi, 22 Paul Green (18 Jack Edwards 74), 4 Darren Carter (capt), 25 George Carline; 17 Oladapo Afolayan (19 Tristan Dunkley 64), 31 Tahvon Campbell (3 Kalern Thomas 83). Substitutes (not used): 1 Connal Trueman (GK), 24 Tom Tonks.
Booked: Dunkley 90
Referee: Savvas Yianni
Attendance: 1,862 (80 away)