Yeovil Town were defeated in the Midlands as Solihull Moors were the 5-1 victors at Damson Park.
After the hosts took a first half lead, Murphy levelled the affair early on in the second half.
However, the Glovers were level for all of two minutes as the hosts struck back two minutes later. The hosts didn’t let up, running riot in the closing stages to secure a comfortable victory.
Darren Sarll opted for a return to the diamond formation which has been used to great success since the turn of the year. Adam Smith retained his spot in goal, with Carl Dickinson, Billy Sass-Davies, Luke Wilkinson, and Michael Kelly in an inverted wing-back role. The midfield four consisted of Jimmy Smith, Matt Worthington, Tom Knowles, and Albi Skendi. Rhys Murphy returned to the starting line-up after a full week’s training alongside Reuben Reid.
Although there was little in the game, the hosts started the brighter, claiming first chance of the afternoon as Justin Donawa fired over the bar from the edge of the box.
Knowles has provided the attacking spark for Town in recent weeks, and once again he provided that impetus for the Glovers in the first half. He stole the ball in midfield on 9 minutes. He then drove into the Solihull half with real intent, but the hosts marshalled him well and blocked his effort.
When Knowles wasn’t in the game, long ball was the focus of Town’s attacks, and one almost came off as a hopeful pass found Albi Skendi in the box, he brought the ball down well, but his initial effort was blocked. The ball then fell kindly to Reuben Reid who also couldn’t direct his effort beyond the Solihull defence.
Towering midfielder James Ball came closest to opening the scoring in the opening stages striking the post from around 25-yards out.
As the half grew on, the hosts started enjoying more and more of the ball in the Glovers’ half.
This eventually paid dividends on 25 minutes, as the smallest man in the box Donawa headed home Jordan Cranston’s corner to open the scoring.
Moments following the goal, Town’s afternoon became even more difficult with Wilkinson forced off the pitch with an injury, however Max Hunt was a more than capable replacement for the former Stevenage man.
One almost became two just minutes later, the always-bright Ball drove into the box but a sublime save from A.Smith denied the hosts.
As the half entered its closing stages, the hosts were happy to hold on to the slim advantage they had controlling the midfield until the half time whistle came.
The Glovers needed fresh ideas to break down the Moors, and that came in the form of Josh Neufville as he replaced J.Smith at the interval.
Since his stunning free-kick against Dagenham, Knowles has established himself as Yeovil’s go-to set-piece taker. He had an opportunity to fire on goal in the opening stages of the second, but his effort didn’t beat the wall.
After some confusion, Yeovil Town did find an equaliser through top scorer Murphy. The ball was played through to Murphy via a deflection who needed no invitation to slot home. However, the linesman had his flag up, but the referee overruled him, and the goal was given.
Town’s lead lasted all of two minutes with the Moors scoring from a set-piece once again. Ben Usher-Shipway’s long throw was flicked on by Kyle Hudlin into the path of Donawa, who lashed home from the edge of the six-yard box for his second of the game.
Just moments later, the hosts added a third through Hudlin. After Cranston’s free kick was cleared, Joe Sbarra clipped the ball back in for Hudlin to head home.
Looking to find a way back into the game, Town switch to a 4-3-3, with Neufville, Murphy and Reid making up the forward positions. The switch in formation stretched the hosts, winning free kicks in dangerous positions. Most notably, Worthington’s delivery caused havoc in the Solihull box. Hunt looked the most likely to get onto it but some last ditch defending saved the Moors.
However, despite Town’s attacking efforts, it was Solihull who found another. Ball worked space for himself within the left channel and drilled an effort beyond A.Smith to put the result beyond doubt.
Solihull didn’t let up in the closing stages, adding a fifth in stoppage time as Donawa completed his hat-trick on the counterattack, putting the icing on a comfortable victory.
The Glovers have the chance to put the result right on Tuesday evening with Solihull travelling to Huish Park.
Yeovil Town: A.Smith; Kelly, Sass-Davies, Wilkinson (Hunt), Dickinson; J.Smith (Neufville), Knowles (Lee), Worthington, Skendi; Reid, Murphy
Subs not used: Dagnall, Quigley.