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Solihull Moors: Traveller’s Tales

Posted by Rob Brown
Posted on Thu 25 Apr 2024
Posted in News

You can only imagine the fun at the weekend with Gateshead’s ‘unexpected’ exclusion. Our local play-off trip to Altrincham was scrapped after an outcry from football fans who had correctly pointed out to the League that Alty finished higher up the table than Solihull. So, the semi-final fixtures were quickly revised again after publication. It all meant that our casual trip across the Pennines after work turned into a 133-mile mad dash during rush hour for another early kick-off to meet the wonderful television schedules.

Nigel Mansell would have been proud of our fast-food drive though pit stop. We placed our order and were served in under two minutes. There was no time for stopping, not until we realised Tesco Pete’s Happy Meal was missing from the paper bag. ‘I thought it was too cheap,’ he bemoaned trudging back to the front entrance. I’d like to say he was served in a flash too, but ten minutes later we were still revving the car in the car park waiting…

Traffic was reasonable until we entered the last mile towards the ground. Sitting bumper to bumper with the clock ticking down, tensions were building. After we had finally abandoned the car on a housing estate near the ground, we saw lots of familiar faces. It was clear the Shaymen were out in force, and one lucky fan was the recipient of a Solihull football that came flying over the stand as we walked across the car park. Two bounces and with perfect timing it landed just inside his car boot as he closed it, he’ll have a surprise when he looks in there this morning, I’m sure.

With segregation in force, ticket admission was £21, and we were allocated some open-air seating in one of those build your own football stand flatpacks you can buy from any good DIY store. You just need an Allen key and an instruction manual. The approximate 600 travelling Shaymen were also given a small section of otherwise empty terracing behind the goal. This space was soon trebled when the fans took it upon themselves to allocate more room. Fans had travelled from far and wide and weren’t prepared to be restricted into a corner. Organisation at its finest.

The first half was all Solihull, and they raced into a three-goal lead. You could argue that a deflected first goal and a third comedy own goal were fortunate for the home side. In truth, they looked sharp, enterprising, and well up for the game. Town didn’t really threaten whilst attacking the far end but did manage to pull one back just before the break.

The Shaymen came out in the second half looking much more themselves. They created more chances than the first half, but Solihull still looked in control. A second goal for Town generated lots of vocal support, and the bar was whacked with a decent header too as the Shaymen pushed for an unexpected equaliser. With a few minutes remaining Solihull sealed the game with a fourth. It was game over after a valiant attempt to get back into the match.

The long and sustained reception for the players and management at full time by the travelling fans was richly deserved. It wasn’t just about the result, it was recognition of what this group of people have achieved this season. There were times when it wasn’t so good, but also other times that will live long in the memory. Oldham, Rochdale, Woking, Ebbsfleet, Gateshead, Alty, Dorking, Dagenham, Oxford, Kidderminster, and Eastleigh, it’s not a bad haul of away wins in one season.

Driving back, and we reflected on a decent season. There was progression from last year, but we were always going to be up against it in the play-offs. If Gateshead had been allowed to play, would we have beaten Alty? Possibly, we often do well against them. Would we have beaten all the teams, perhaps not. Let’s get behind the club over the summer and do it all again next year.

C’mon Shaymen!

Miles on the road 7616, goals on the road 29

Read more posts by Rob Brown