Sensational Solihull Moors Stun Barnet To Book Second Wembley Trip

Andy Whing’s Solihull Moors recorded an emphatic victory on the road at favourites Barnet to book their second trip to Wembley in two weeks with a 0-4 victory in the first of The National League play-off semi-finals.

The visitors came into this fixture as the underdogs after not only finishing below Barnet but also having played their quarter-final on Wednesday, whilst Barnet qualified for this semi-final automatically from their league position. But with the best away record in the regular season, The Moors would not have written off a victory at the start of the day.

And it was the hosts who made the brighter start, with former Luton Town midfielder Luke Freeman’s left-footed free-kick finding the head of defender Adebola Oluwo, who saw his header rise over the bar.

But three minutes later it was Solihull who nearly took the lead, when Barnet goalkeeper Josh Keeley raced out to clear a long ball. However, he got the clearance all wrong and when the ball fell to Joe Sbarra, the on-loan Tottenham Hotspur shot-stopper was on hand to beat the ball away with his chest.

The Moors maintained the pressure however and found a breakthrough within six minutes. Captain Jamie Osborne with a perfectly measured free kick that was glanced into the far corner by full-back James Clarke to give the traveling fans a dream start at The Hive.

Barnet responded well with a succession of corners, with the closest chance at goal a deflected effort from captain Dale Gorman that went just over the bar. The former Leyton Orient man came close again, when his inswinger corner looked to be heading all the way in, before a brilliant, brave defensive header from Jay Benn diverted the ball away from the back of the net.

But it was the visitors who doubled their advantage just before the 30-minute mark, when Osborne slid in forward Jack Stevens who steered the ball with his left foot into the bottom corner of Keeley’s net to double the advantage for Andy Whing’s side.

It took until five minutes before the break for The Bees to threaten next, when the lively Idris Kanu got to the byline on the left-hand side, and squared the ball to leading marksman Nicke Kabamba, who could only direct his left-footed shot wide of the mark.

The Moors still looked lethal on the counter attack and very nearly had a third before the break, but Tahvon Campbell’s powerful low strike was kept out by Keeley, the last action of a superb first half from the visitors.

Half Time – Barnet 0-2 Solihull Moors

Dean Brennan acted with a double change on 55 minutes, England c-team international Callum Stead and Zak Brunt entered the field in an attacking switch, replacing Freeman and the captain Gorman. The visitors responded with a defensive change to keep the scoreline as it was, as Stevens made way for experienced midfielder Joss Labadie.

It was the visitors who looked to put the issue beyond doubt when Sbarra’s effort was kept out by Keeley, but Tahvon Campbell was on hand to build on his goal in the quarter-final against Halifax Town in midweek, sending the traveling 351 supporters into jubilant celebrations.

Solihull’s third seemed to rock Barnet and sucked the lifeblood out of the game. The Bees could not break down a resolute defence in the 20 minutes that followed and after 80 minutes were still yet to properly test visiting keeper Nick Hayes.

Instead, it was Whing’s men who nearly added a fourth goal when Anthony Hartigan was robbed of possession in his own half, but when the ball was worked to Tyrese Shade, he could only force the save from Keeley.

And the fourth goal did come one minute from time, when Sbarra was slipped in one-on-one to net a deserved goal for himself after a very impressive performance from the former Burton Albion man. That was the final significant moment of an emphatic victory for the visitors, after Stead saw his late effort cleared off the line as Barnet looked to find a late consolation goal.

Solihull Moors will face the winner of Sunday’s other semi-final between Bromley and Altrincham next Saturday, before returning to the home of football the weekend after to face Gateshead in the final of the FA Trophy.

A tough way for Barnet to end a positive season in front of their own fans but for the second year in a row, it is play-off disappointment for the Bees. Solihull in this free-scoring form will be a real match for whoever they face at Wembley in seven days time.

Full Time – Barnet 0-4 Solihull Moors

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.