Stratford Town 0
Solihull Moors 2
MANAGER Carl Adams found plenty of reasons to be positive, despite Stratford Town’s defeat to National League Solihull Moors at the MoodChimp Stadium.
For much of Saturday’s friendly, there was little to choose between the two sides until two goals of the highest quality from Darren Carter and Jermaine Hylton around the hour mark gave Moors the victory.
For Adams, the most important thing was the overall performance.
Despite the absence of half a dozen players which meant coach Gary Moran having to pull on his boots as a substitute, the manager was pleased to see the strength in depth. Until the first goal, the hosts gave as good as they got.
“I don’t get carried away by pre-season results,” said Adams. “Playing a team like Solihull, my lads were always going to raise the game and they were full of it. It was the reverse situation to when we played Boldmere, who were two levels below us.
“I have got to be pleased with what we did. We were very competitive, especially in the first half. I don’t think they hurt us too many times.
“The difference was we had tired legs as the game went on and they were able to bring in subs with real quality. That’s the difference in levels”
It was one of those Moors subs Carter, who made the breakthrough, with the former Birmingham City favourite proving age hasn’t dimmed his ability to smash home a 25-yard rocket on 57 minutes.
Then Hylton, a Moors summer recruit from Swindon Town, fired home another superb solo effort, collecting the ball on the left from George Carline’s flicked header, cutting inside past one marker and then another to guide his shot past keeper Louis Connor.
Neither keeper had been particularly troubled in the first half.
Connor easily gathered a header from Jack Edwards and Hylton headed off target from a Shepherd Murombedzi cross.
Stratford’s best effort came from youngster Charlie Evans, who responded with a stringing left-footer which was deflected inches over from Ben Stephens’ blocked free-kick while Edwin Ahenkorah fired straight at keeper Connal Trueman.
Either side of Moors goals, Stratford’s half-time substitute Mike Taylor found Trueman in the perfect place to gather after dispossessing Simeon Maye and striding goalwards and again blasted straight at the keeper after Antonio Alcaraz opened the defence.
George Washbourne had a free-kick also brilliantly parried as Town pressed but Connor produced a smart save to block Hylton at the near post following a pass by former Town player Jordan Cullinane-Liburd.
Town continue their friendly programme when they entertain Bromsgrove Sporting, last season’s Midland League Division One champions, on Tuesday night at the MoodChimp.
TOWN: Connor; Florin, Thomas, Francis, Hancocks; Evans, Grocott, Marsden; Stephens; Luckie, Akenkorah. Subs: Taylor, Parker, Washbourne, Alcaraz, Moran (all used).
SOLIHULL: Trueman; Murombedzi, Cleary, P Green, Cullinane-Liburd; Tonks, Maye, Carline; Edwards; Afolayan, Hylton. Subs: Vaughan, K Green, Dunkley, Mellors-Blair, Carter, Thomas.
Referee: Neil Pratt.