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Report: Solihull 3-0 Stags XI

18 July 2015

A youthful side slip to defeat in the West Midlands.

A youthful Mansfield Town XI succumbed to a 3-0 defeat to Solihull Moors.


The hosts, who ply their trade in the National League (North) opened the scoring midway through the first half, and put the result beyond doubt by bagging two goals in quick succession shortly after the re-start.


Former Aston Villa striker Stefan Moore scored two of Solihull’s goals, whilst their other came courtesy of big defender Gareth Dean.


On a warm afternoon in the West Midlands, things were quite tight in the early exchanges as Mansfield’s youthful side dealt well with the challenge of a more experienced Solihull outfit.


It was the Stags, led by Micky Moore, who carved out the first meaningful opening of the afternoon on 12 minutes when trialist Nortei Nortey shared a good one-two with Lewis Ferguson and crossed towards the near-post where Dan Fletcher headed over.


Ferguson, operating on the right flank, was in the action again a couple of minutes later when he showed some tidy footwork and hold up play to win a free-kick down by the corner flag. The 19-year-old took the set-piece quickly and threaded a good pass towards fellow trialist Reece Lucas on the edge of the area, who hit a first time snap-shot which went wide.


Opportunities were sparse, but somewhat against the balance of play, Solihull took the lead on 21 minutes when Stefan Moore capitalised on a good ball-winning challenge by a team-mate and threaded a near low shot beyond the reach of Adam Bishop from 15 yards.


The goal gave the hosts confidence and they went close again two minutes later as a deep cross from the left flank reached Akwasi Asante. His downwards header from six yards forced Bishop into a good stop.


Asante proved to be something of a problem for the Stags defence, and he went close again on 26 minutes when he peeled off the shoulder of Nortey to reach another deep cross towards the back-post, but with the goal at his mercy, he somehow headed over.


Solihull continued to see more of the ball, but despite this they couldn’t muster up any more opening and held a single-goal lead at the interval.


Nevertheless, the Moors showed no mercy in the early stages of the second half as they created plenty of opportunities in quick succession.


Within two minutes of the re-start, Bishop saved a header from Asante and showed quick feet to come off his line and smother the ball in Solihull’s next venture forward.


However, on 50 minutes, it was 2-0. Darryl Knights showed clever movement on the right flank and played an inviting pass towards Moore just inside the area, who found the back of the net with a cheeky chip-shot.


Bishop was proving his worth between the sticks for Mansfield, nonetheless, and he made another good save shortly afterwards – when he showed excellent agility to tip a goalbound drive from Adam Walker over the woodwork.


Solihull then enjoyed a succession of quick corners and registered another goal within a couple of minutes as Gareth Dean forced the ball home at the third attempt, after the Stags were unable to clear their lines from a corner.


With the floodgates threatening to open, Mansfield had to dig deep and both Louis Danquah and Chris Spencer made crucial blocks inside the area.


When the defence were breached though, Bishop wasn’t to be beaten and he made another great save – this time from a curling effort by Callum Gittings with a quarter of an hour remaining.


Solihull dominated possession in the dying embers of the game, but were again denied by the Stags’ young ‘keeper, who was at full-stretch to palm away a curling and swerving free-kick by Ryan Beswick with only a couple of minutes to go.

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