AFC Fylde 1 Solihull Moors 2 - Full report

Stephen Crainey makes a tackle
Stephen Crainey makes a tackle
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Solihull Moors leapfrogged AFC Fylde at the congested top end of the National League North table after this victory in torrential rain at Kellamergh Park.

Former Aston Villa striker Stefan Moore opened the scoring from the penalty spot and Dion Charles scrambled home an equaliser by half-time.

Darryl Knight restored the visitors’ lead and the Coasters wasted the perfect opportunity to claim a point when Danny Rowe’s spot-kick was saved by Ben Seagrist.

Dave Challinor made several changes to the Fylde side that had drawn 4-4 with Skelmersdale United in the FA Trophy last Tuesday as Dom Collins, Stephen Crainey and Alex Marrow all came into the starting line-up.

Solihull fashioned the first opportunity with a long ball into the Fylde area, but keeper Ben Hinchliffe pulled off a sensational reaction save to keep out a point-blank header.

Hinchliffe was a busy man in the opening exchanges and was on hand to deny former Premier League hitman Moore and Andy Brown, after both found space.

A goal looked to be coming and duly arrived for the visitors on 14 minutes. Josh Langley was adjudged to have fouled Moore in the penalty area and he picked himself up to dispatch the spot-kick.

The Coasters were struggling to get a foothold in the game and couldn’t find a way through, despite a succession of corners.

Ryan Beswick came close to doubling Solihull’s advantage on 18 minutes, when the ball fell kindly for him on the edge of the box, but his vicious left-foot strike was narrowly wide of the right post.

Fylde had a glorious chance of their own when Charles raced clear two minutes later, but his strike across goal struck a post and Rowe’s follow-up was comfortable for the goalkeeper.

The hosts were beginning to grow into the game and Sam Finley went close on 25 minutes with a powerful long-range drive that was kept out at the second attempt by Siegrist.

A deserved equaliser arrived on 35 minutes after a goalmouth scramble from an in-swinging corner, Charles applying the final touch.

The rain continued to pour after the break and conditions were not conducive to a free-flowing match. However, the two sides were trying their best to play decent football.

Solihull regained their lead five minutes into the second-half in calamitous circumstances for Fylde.

Hinchliffe dived on a loose ball but succeeded only in pushing it back into play, while sliding out himself.

The lurking Knights was only too grateful to pinch the ball and slot into an empty goal against the run of play.

The weather hindered Fylde’s hopes of responding, and by the hour mark the ball was sticking on the surface almost all over the pitch.

But just as neither side looked likely to create any further openings, the game suddenly sprang to life. Lloyd raced down the left and was pushed as he broke into the box, giving the referee no choice but to point to the spot.

However, the chance was spurned as Rowe smashed the penalty straight at Siegrist.

The visitors looked to go further ahead when Moore latched on to Collins’ under-hit back-pass, though his effort from close-range was blocked.

Charles came close for the Coasters in added time, when he turned his man before unleashing a strike that flew inches wide of the post.

Fylde slip two places to fourth, one of three teams within two points of leaders Nuneaton with games in hand.

That could all change with two games in three days, starting with the Boxing Day visit to Chorley. Before then, Fylde must negotiate the Trophy replay at Skelmersdale tomorrow night.

DANIEL AGNEW