Solihull Moors v Aldershot Town match preview – Saturday 1 April 2017
Last Saturday’s 2-0 win at Moss Rose – The Shots’ third consecutive victory – all but ended Macclesfield Town’s fading promotion hopes. It also effectively narrowed down the race for the remaining Play-Off places to two teams from five. The win lifted Aldershot into fifth place in the National League table, a position they remain in – albeit on goal difference – following the midweek fixtures.
Rob Worrall previews the action…
Second-half strikes from Kundai Benyu – a calm and composed finish after a beautifully weighted through ball from Bernard Mensah – and Matt McClure, lashing home from close-range after a Jake Gallagher shot was parried into his path, ensured Gary Waddock’s men completed a clean sweep of all nine points available from last week’s trio of National League games. Jake Cole’s late full-stretch save from Chris Holroyd cemented The Shots’ 18th clean sheet of the season – a total that no other team in the division can match.
Waddock made two changes for the Macclesfield game. Anthony Straker replaced Cheye Alexander, who was left out of the squad as a precaution after sustaining a head injury against Dagenham & Redbridge. Jim Kellermann came back into the team following his recent four-match suspension, with Shamir Fenelon rested to the bench. Reading loanee Dominic Hyam came on as a late substitute to make his Shots debut.
Waddock announced in this week’s pre-match press call that, with Mick McCarthy’s permission, he has been able to extend Benyu’s youth loan from Ipswich Town to a fifth month. With Manny Oyeleke nearing full fitness after a hamstring strain, The Shots boss has almost a full squad to pick from. Liam Bellamy, still recovering from knee ligament surgery, is the one certainty to miss out.
Solihull Moors came into being following a merger between Moor Green, who were an original member of Conference North in 2004, and Southern League side Solihull Borough. The former club had played at the latter’s Damson Park ground following an arson attack in 2005 that left The Moorlands unusable and too costly to repair. It was also decided that a new ground wasn’t an option so the new club was officially started on 1 June 2007. The West Midlands club hadn’t finished above 7th in their first eight seasons in the National League North, but they exceeded expectations in 2015-16, when they finished nine points clear of second-placed North Ferriby United to take their place in a national league for the first time.
The Moors have made a solid start to life at National League level, occupying a mid-table position for the majority of the season. They currently sit in 16th place, with 48 points, 7 clear of the relegation zone, but come into the Aldershot Town match on the back of three straight defeats – away at Forest Green (2-1) and at home to Barrow (2-4) and Torquay United (0-1).
Most Apps: Defender Liam Daly has made 41 league and cup appearances for Moors this season.
Most Goals: Omari Sterling-James has 8 goals, whilst Akwasi Asante (now at Grimsby) remains top scorer with 11.
Key Player: Exciting young prospect Olodapo Afolayan has scored 3 goals in the last 5 matches and is one to watch out for.
Aldershot Town and Solihull Moors have only met once previously, in October 2016, when The Shots prevailed 2-0, with goals from Shamir Fenelon and Scott Rendell separating the two sides. Town’s clean sheet in that game was all the more impressive given that Moors had scored four times in each of their previous two games, with Asante grabbing consecutive hat-tricks.
Saturday’s match referee is Steve Rushton, who has taken charge of 20 National League games this season, showing 48 yellow cards and two reds. He has not refereed Aldershot Town this term but has twice refereed Solihull home matches, the draw with Borehamwood and the defeat to Wrexham, in which he sent off Moor’s Jack Byrne.
BBC Surrey’s Rob Worrall and ex-Shots goalkeeper Nikki Bull will be covering the game on Saturday afternoon. Tune in to the BBC Sport website from 2.50pm for full match commentary.
You can also contact us throughout the afternoon via Twitter. Tweet your predictions and thoughts on the game to @RobShot66 and @BullWorldTrip