|Solihull Moors||3-2||Havant and Waterlooville|
|Williams 23', Gudger 72', Wright 89'||Quigley 1', Gudger (og) 86'|
By Henry Deacon (@H_Deaconmedia)
The Hawks certainly went down with an almighty fight with Joe Quigley giving the visitors the lead after just 33 seconds.
An own goal meant the Hawks equalised after set piece goals from Solihull in either half.
But Wright’s winner would be the nail in Havant’s coffin, despite a brave effort throughout the season.
Lee Bradbury made four changes to his side as he looked to start a revival for his side. In came Dan Strugnell, Joe Quigley, Mike Carter and Andreas Robinson from the 2-1 home defeat to Harrogate last week.
The Hawks got off to the perfect start in the Midlands, and took the lead after just 33 seconds when goalkeeper Ryan Boot came deep out into his own half and missed the ball after a lapse in communication at the back and with Joe Quigley lurking, the Hawks striker round the paid before placing the ball into an empty net.
Despite a goal in a matter of seconds, the opening 20 minutes of the game would be a cagey affair with neither team with everything to play for at either end of the table being able to afford any mistakes.
On the 20 minute mark Jordan Rose launched a deep, long throw into the penalty area into the path of Quigley again who flicked the ball towards goal but Boot just about managed to keep hold of his effort.
Three minutes later and Solihull got their equaliser, somewhat against the run of play. A corner kick swung into the back post saw a scramble for the ball which found Tyrone Williams who poked the ball home from close range.
Four minutes later in a bid to respond straight away Andreas Robinson played a delightful ball into the box from a free kick into the path of Tyler Cordner, who was afforded a free header inside the penalty area, but his effort straight into the arms of the Solihull keeper.
Six minutes later, potent Moors striker Adi Yussuf has his first effort on goal, but his effort from the edge of the box fell straight into the path of keeper Laurence Bilboe.
And a minute before the interval the hosts had a golden opportunity to go into the break in front when Danny Wright pulled clear of the Hawks defence before going one on one with Bilboe, however the Havant keeper made himself big to block the effort with his body.
HALF-TIME: Solihull Moors 1-1 Havant and Waterlooville
Solihull came out the traps flying at the start of the second period, knowing that for them nothing less than a victory will do in their title efforts.
Two minutes after the restart Bilboe again was forced into action when he produced a good save from Yussuf.
Solihull then huffed and puffed for the next ten minutes but couldn’t find anything tangible.
Up the other end Mike Carter knocked the ball from the edge of his own half out to Alfie Rutherford who decided to cross the ball across goal into the path of Quigley at the back post, but couldn’t get to the effort in time.
Then a minute later Rory Williams played an exquisite ball into the back post himself from the left hand side, with Danny McNamara in position he slipped at the vital last moment from a matter of yards out much to his and everyone’s frustrations.
With just under half an hour to play Tyrone Williams had a bicycle kick attempt from six yards out, spectacularly going over.
Six minutes later a Moors free kick fell to the unmarked Williams six yards out but again see his effort go over, this time from his head.
With 20 minutes to play Rory Williams had a free kick from the edge of the box, but fell straight into the throat of Boot.
Then a double change for the Hawks in a bid to save Havant’s survival bid. Theo Lewis and Wes Fogden came on in the places of Harry Donovan and Joe Quigley.
A minute after that change Solihull came close to taking the lead when Stenson’s cross come shot from the best part of 25 yards out caught all but Bilboe cold, who did brilliantly to parry the ball away from the back of the net.
From the requisite corner, the ball found its way to Alex Gudger who’s powerful, steered header gave Solihull the lead for the first time in the game, a well taken finish from the Moors defender.
If Havant were going to lose their National League status, they were going to do so fighting, and nothing was left on the field of play in the final quarter as the Hawks created some good opportunities.
Andreas Robinson had a free kick from 25 yards out which fell straight at the throat of the keeper Boot, before a minute later Williams crossed the ball into the path of Theo Lewis who has his header cleared off the line as Havant pressed for that equaliser.
With ten minutes left to play Matt Stenson came close with another curling effort, this time hitting the post after a curling effort from the edge of the box.
Six minutes from time Alfie Rutherford came close to get that equalising goal but his effort inside the area after some good build up play went just wide.
The Hawks wouldn’t be denied two minutes later when Robinson’s corner kick fell into the back of the net off Alex Gudger, Havant getting a slice of luck which has gone against them all season long.
Then in a crazy turn of events Havant were going for a winner in the last minute of normal time, as the tables well and truly turned. The ball found Theo Lewis in the box but he couldn’t fashion an effort on goal.
Solihull though would put the dagger to Havant’s heart that they launched a blistering counter attack, the Hawks had everyone forward needing a goal and that left Danny Wright able to run on goal, before turning when defenders tracked back and took his effort brilliantly as he curled the ball into the back of the net.
Havant rallied in the final stages, and never gave up but defeat sees Lee Bradbury’s side relegated from the top flight of Non-League football after a season to remember.
FULL-TIME: Solihull Moors 3-2 Havant and Waterlooville
The Hawks gave it everything, the same as all season, the workrate of the players, management and staff unquestionable but unfortuantely came up short.
It has been a heroic attempt all season in our first season at this level and as a part time team playing in a professional league, and apart from an odd game have been in every game and have been unlucky at the wrong times.
However, we will regroup and go again Friday when we host Ebbsfleet United, as we look to finish the season on a high and look to rebuild the brilliant project happening at Westleigh Park.