The English National League features four relegation spots and, unless Solihull Moors – formed in 2007 by the merger of Solihull and Moor Green – is a lot better than its friendly results suggest, the promoted team is likely to return from whence it came. Solihull Moors won last season’s English National League North by a comfortable nine-point margin from subsequent play-offs champion North Ferriby but the joint venture is trialling like a relegation candidate.
Solihull Moors kicked off its pre-season campaign with a 1-1 home draw against English League One side Oxford, a match in which the host was heading for a loss until Lewis Hayden’s cross from the left wing caught United goalkeeper Simon Eastwood off guard, drifting into the net’s far corner.
Next Solihull Moors entertained English Championship team Birmingham in front of its largest crowd ever. Birmingham raced to a 3-0 lead inside the first 34 minutes, Solihull Moors struggling to get out of its own half until Blues coach Gary Rowett rang the changes at the break. Solihull Moors scored a consolation goal in the 59th minute but the gap between it and Birmingham was massive in the first half.
English League One side Walsall was the next team to visit Solihull Moors for a warm-up game. Walsall, fielding a very different line-up to the one that missed out narrowly on promotion from English League One last term, scored four unanswered first-half goals before both managers, Jon Whitney and Marcus Bignot, made mass changes. Walsall notched a fifth goal to register a 5-0 away victory.
Solihull Moors drew 0-0 at English National League North side Telford, lost 0-2 at English Northern Premier League Premier Division team Hednesford and won 1-0 at another English Northern Premier League Premier Division outfit, Barwell, before hosting another professional entity, Shrewsbury. Solihull Moors were incapable of taming the Shrews as the English League One side matched Walsall’s effort of four unanswered first-half goals. Shrewsbury supremo Mickey Mellon rested his starters for most of the second half and still Solihull Moors could not score.
Solihull Moors is preparing for its first term in England’s fifth division, the English National League, and one thinks that BetVictor is offering well over the odds with its +225 quote about the relatively young club being relegated.
Teams promoted to the English National League as champions of the division that Solihull Moors won last season have finished, on average, 17th and one needs Bignot’s boys to occupy 21st, 22nd, 23rd or 24th place for one’s bet to be a winner. Solihull Moors looks like one of the weakest English National League North title holders in the competition’s 12 terms because its displays versus English Football League opponents – particularly Walsall and Shrewsbury – were terrible. Walsall and Shrewsbury may have got close to double digits had they not invoked the mercy rule in their respective away friendlies against Solihull Moors.
The English National League is scheduled to kick off on Saturday 6 August. Solihull Moors is programmed to make its English National League debut at Sutton, followed by matches versus Woking (home), Bromley (home), Wrexham (away), Guiseley (home), Eastleigh (away) and Macclesfield (home) before the end of August. Solihull Moors does not have the toughest of early English National League fixture lists so it has the opportunity to start positively, however, the other side of coin is that its relegation odds will shrink dramatically if it fails to capitalise on those games.
Solihull Moors to be Relegated from the English National League
Season 2016/17 – Starts 6th August