First-half - first Solihull Moors goal (1)

Nantwich Town’s dream run in the FA Trophy was brought to an end by National League Solihull Moors who won 5-1 at the Armco Arena, writes Liam Price.

Scott Butler was ill and Joe Pigott was cup-tied as the Dabbers brought in Sean Lawton and Frazer Cookson.

The home side almost struck inside the first five minutes.

Kian Ryley was in too much space and was found with a throw in, he turned and hit the outside of the post with a crisp strike, Scott Moloney was close but may not have got there.

Alex Whitmore fired over a couple of half efforts but there was no doubt the National League team were strongly growing into the game.

Second-half - a brilliant save from Scott Moloney (1)

Simple enough 1-2s and slick movement were undoing the Dabbers in the final third time and again, Jack Stevens slid wide from a narrow angle after Nathan Okome was caught in behind.

Cookson, on his first Nantwich start, was called into last ditch action a couple of times to keep the scores level with clearances.

Joe Sbarra, the Solihull captain, was running things smartly from midfield, and a deflected shot from him had to be palmed behind by Moloney.

Another corner brought the opening goal.

Stevens powered in a header that Moloney couldn’t get enough on and it just sneaked in.

First-half - Meppen-Walters gets up highest to meet Connolly’s free kick, but his header is over the bar (1)

The Dabbers’ only shot on target in the first half was a long-range free kick attempt from Courtney Meppen-Walters, who had spotted Nick Hayes off his line but he was back swiftly to catch it.

It was lovely final third football from the side 4th in the National League, Okome and Moloney having to be on their guard to stop the lead being extended.

Meppen-Walters headed over a free kick but 1-0 was a fair reflection on the game at the break.

Unfortunately, the second half got off to the worst possible start for the Dabbers.

In its second minute, a misjudgement at the back from Okome saw him pull down his man.

Sean Lawton may have been covering but it was not enough to convince the referee that it was not the denial of a goalscoring opportunity and Okome was shown a straight red card, the first of his career.

Less than 10 minutes later Kian Ryley capitalised on more poor play at the back and had an easy task to slot it home for 2-0.

Second-half - Akiel Raffie on the attack (1)

He could have had another three in the minutes after that goal, firing over with the goal gaping and hitting the bar with another, and the side netting with a third.

Ryley was involved again for Solihull’s third, cutting back to Morgan Owen who swept the ball home tidily.

Owen was given the home team’s man of the match at the end of the game.

Sbarra and sub Max Martin missed chances as the home side were opening the 10 men up almost at will.

Meppen-Walters was the Dabbers’ best attacking threat from centre-back, and there was some surprise when he lined up a free kick outside the box and forced a save from Hayes off his left foot.

In the final 10 minutes, Solihull made it 4-0.

Another sub, Tyler Bruck, finished calmly to put that bit of icing on a comfortable win.

Almost straight from the kick-off, Nantwich got their moment that they had deserved.

Second-half - Dabbers goal - Paddy Kay’s effort from the edge of the box loops over Hayes who stands no chance in the Solihull goal (1)

Paddy Kay swept one into the top corner from outside the box, surely the goal of the game that gave the exceptional away following something to cheer about.

Fitting as Kay had appeared in all seven of the Dabbers’ FA Trophy games this season and contributed a goal to the superb win over York in the last round.

Second-half - Dabbers goal - Paddy Kay’s effort from the edge of the box loops over Hayes who stands no chance in the Solihull goal (2) (1)

Joel Connolly fired over as the Dabbers suddenly looked as if they’d let the shackles off.

Another blow was to follow, however.

Cookson, who never shirks a challenge, threw himself into one with what was deemed to be excessive force by the referee, who handed out another straight red.

Cookson’s loan spell at the Dabbers could effectively be over now with a three-game ban for what was a first major offence late in a game that had been dead for 40 minute.

Moloney made another decent save, before the final goal came via Finn Howell.

Five goals from five different goalscorers for a Solihull side who will be in contention for a spot in League 2.

First-half - Byron Harrison on the ball under pressure from Solihull Moors (1)

An incredible goal-line clearance by Lawton in stoppage time was proof that the Dabbers were never giving up.

They had been beaten by an 82-place higher team playing good football, and the circumstances of the game.

More than 300 of the 808 people in the stadium were Dabbers supporters – almost 40% of the attendance at a National League ground.

(Pics by Jonathan White)

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