Boreham Wood v Solihull Moors
Tuesday 14th February 2023, 7.45pm
LV BET Stadium Meadow Park, Vanarama National League

The Wood will be looking to continue their unbeaten run and bounce back after surrendering a two-goal lead against Woking last time out, with Solihull Moors the visitors to the LV BET Stadium Meadow Park.


Formed in 2008 after the merger of existing clubs Moor Green and Solihull Borough, Solihull Moors have ultimately only ever competed in the fifth and sixth tiers of English football after entering the Conference North in their maiden campaign, remaining their until their promotion in 2016 under Marcus Bignot. The Moors are a club on the rise though, following up two relegation battles with a second place finish in 2018/19, just three years after reaching the fifth tier in the first place. They have subsequently established themselves in the National League, but narrowly missed out on promotion to League Two again with the club falling at the hands of Grimsby Town in last season’s play-off final. The arrival of Neal Ardley as manager in 2021 had evidently seen a notable upturn in form, but they will be keen to make amends on last season’s disappointment and make up the four-point gap to the top seven, with the Moors currently sitting 11th in the National League table.

Indeed, the current campaign hasn’t been quite as successful as the last one and Ardley will be hoping his side can quickly get back on track. They are helped by the reliable Andy Dallas and Joe Sbarra in attack who are once again their highest scorers with 13 and eight respectively, although they needed to replace the outgoing Kyle Hudlin in the summer and former loanee Alex Reid, with Bartosz Cybulski’s loan move recently being extended. He is joined by Josh Kelly and National League North top scorer Mark Beck who have added two more options up top, while Ben Coker, Joey Jones, Tom Whelan, Callum Whelan and in recent weeks David Davis have also arrived at the ARMCO Arena to add steal in midfield, and they will be hoping to push for a play-off place in the second half of the season as a result.


Dagenham & Redbridge 2-1 Solihull Moors
Saturday 11th January 2023
Vanarama National League

Solihull Moors slipped to defeat at the hands of Dagenham & Redbridge, with the in-form Inih Effiong bagging a double for the hosts to earn them all three points.

It was the Moors who began on the front-foot with Andy Dallas and Bartosz Cybulski looking lively, and the first chance of the game fell to the latter when he turned Ben Coker’s cross wide. Coker would be involved again with the visitors enjoying plenty of room down the left-hand side, and he would send another cross into the path of James Clarke who headed over. The Daggers grew into it around the 20-minute mark with Junior Morias sending a low effort down the throat of Ryan Boot, before Effiong blasted wide from distance. It would be the hosts struck first after weathering the early Moors storm and took the lead when Effiong pounced on a loose ball before firing beyond Boot, after his initial free kick had been blocked. Falling behind didn’t deter the visitors though as they were back level just six minutes later, with Andy Dallas tricking his way to the byline before drilling a cross into the danger area, with the ball making its way into the top corner via a deflection, allegedly off Cybulski to draw level.

The game turned scrappy at the start of the second half with neither side able to maintain control, but it was Effiong who continued to cause problems for the Daggers after the break, and it was he who restored their lead when he let fly from 25-yards, finding the top corner of Boot’s goal with his second of the afternoon. The hosts pushed for a third and almost got it through Morias, alerting their opponents to find the all-important equaliser before it was too late. The Moors continued to push for the leveller and came close when Jevon Mills volleyed over in stoppage time, but Effiong’s double proved enough to seal the victory.


Dagenham & Redbridge (A) L2-1
York City (A) W2-3
Gateshead (H) L0-2
Notts County (H) L1-2
Dorking Wanderers (A) W0-3
Aldershot Town (H) W1-2

The Moors have failed to match the heights of last season and have been plagued with inconsistency during the current campaign, after a positive opening few weeks of the season. They kicked off the festive period and new year with five defeats on the bounce, but were finally able to pick up their first points of 2023 with a comfortable 3-0 victory at Dorking Wanderers, with Andy Dallas and Joe Sbarra on hand to ensure they broke their duck and returned to winning ways. They would face a difficult test up next though with league leaders Notts County visiting the ARMCO Arena, and they subsequently fell to defeat to Neal Ardley’s former club before suffering the same against Gateshead four days later. They once again bounced back with recent arrival Mark Beck sealing victory over York City with a late header, but they come into Tuesday night’s fixture fresh off another defeat after Inih Effiong’s double secured the points last time out.


After a 16-year playing career came to an end due to injuries, Neal Ardley returned to former club Cardiff City as academy manager and remained there for five years before taking on his first senior managerial role at AFC Wimbledon. He enjoyed a successful six years with the Dons and achieved promotion to League One for the first time in their history, but departed in November 2018, later taking over at Notts County. He was unable to prevent their slide into the National League and although he subsequently guided the Magpies to the National League play-off final along with the FA Trophy semi-final, he was sacked after three years in the role after being unable to take them back to the Football League. He was soon named manager of Solihull Moors though and once again reached the National League play-off final, but he would fall short for a second time as he was unable to take the Moors into League Two for the first time in their history.


After beginning his career in the West Bromwich Albion academy, Joe Sbarra made the switch to Burton Albion where he rose through the ranks and made his senior debut at the age of 18. A total of 76 appearances for the Brewers saw him feature in both the Championship and League One, but after failing to retain his place in the starting line-up he dropped into the National League in 2018/19, joining Solihull Moors on loan. He would make the move permanent following his release from the Pirelli Stadium and has gone on to play over 100 times for the Moors, establishing himself as the heart of the team in the process. Sbarra keeps thing ticking for Neal Ardley’s side, and contributed 18 goals from midfield last season while adding another seven so far this season.


Boreham Wood 0-3 Solihull Moors
Sunday 15th May 2022
Vanarama National League

A late penalty from Adam Rooney added gloss to the scoreline after goals from Kyle Hudlin and Joe Sbarra at both ends of the first half, with Boreham Wood rounding off a memorable 2021/22 campaign with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of promotion hopefuls Solihull Moors.

Despite the Moors’ high hopes at the end of the season it was the Wood who produced the first opening, with Tyrone Marsh sliding Dennon Lewis in behind after three minutes shortly before Jacob Mendy Mendy floated a ball towards David Stephens who’s volley was fired wide. Solihull quickly began to control proceedings and showed why they were in contention for promotion, with Will Evans clearing Callum Howe’s header off the line. The Moors would soon take the lead with Harry Boyes’ deliveries causing all sorts of problems, with one of them being flicked into the path of Hudlin at the back post who headed Solihull in front. Nathan Ashmore would have to be at his best shortly after to deny Callum Maycock and Sbarra, with these chances coming either side of a golden opportunity for the hosts which saw Joe McDonnell deny Gus Mafuta from point blank range. The Moors would punish the Wood on the brink of the interval, as a hospital pass in a dangerous area allowed Sbarra to pounce, and he slotted the ball beyond Ashmore to double their lead going into the break.

The visitors continued their dominance after the interval with Andy Dallas unable to get the desired contact after meeting Hudlin’s cross under pressure from Evans, and this was followed by a rare opportunity for the Wood to pull a goal back, with Marsh heading onto the roof of the net. Solihull would put the game to bed with 15 minutes to play after Alex Gudger was fouled in the box, with substitute Rooney making no mistake from the spot to convert with his first touch of the ball and add a third. The Wood enjoyed a spell of control at the end of the game with two late chances for Marsh, before Solihull gave the ball away in a dangerous area with Lewis eventually firing well off target. There was enough time at the end for Danilo Orsi to be flagged off side after pouncing on a loose ball, while the long-awaited return of Femi Ilesanmi from injury was almost marked by a goal as his late effort flew into the North Bank, before the referee brought a halt to proceedings for the final time.



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