PLAYER-MANAGER Tom Reynolds scored against his former club as Earlswood Town booked their place in the next round of the Midland League Les James Challenge Cup with a 3-0 victory over AFC Solihull.
Earlswood started the game with seven of the players who followed Reynolds across Solihull from their opponents in the summer and there was a clear tension in the air to add to the derby atmosphere.
And it was Solihull who appeared to react to this better and start the game on the front foot.
However, with no real chances to show for it their best opportunities came from corners and deep free-kicks, with giant centre-back Tony Furness heading one just wide of the Earlswood goal and into the side netting.
After 15 minutes Earlswood began to srttle into the game and it wasn’t long before they had the lead.
A Reynolds free-kick was cleverly headed down by Ryan Froggatt for returning striker Joel Hughes to side foot into an empty net, followed by muted celebration against his former club.
Another ex-Solihull attacker in Jon Hamer was also causing the hosts problems with his pace and trickery and it was he who set up the second
After some neat work down the byline, he squared the ball to winger Danny Holliday to tap home.
Earslwood then effectively put the game to bed shortly after, and as if it was written it was former Solihull captain Reynolds who did the damage.
A forward ball looped over his head and as it bounced, Reynolds hit a perfect half volley across Lee Garghan into the far corner.
After an eventful summer Reynolds clearly enjoyed the goal, his fourth of the season already.
All the goals came within a 20-minute spell which took the game away from Solihull, who despite some neat play, lacked a goal threat to trouble Earlswood’s defence who were comfortable throughout.
The Earls saw the game out comfortably and protected their clean sheet well to take home the bragging rights and progress to the second round of the Les James Challenge Cup.
They will now be looking ahead to getting some points on the board in Midland League Division Two on Saturday when they entertain Fairfield Villa.
Photo by Simon Bissett.