03 May 2021 by John Edwards

Rain pours and wind roars as Moors expose flaws!

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Phil Parkinson rang the changes but was still confronted by an all-too-familiar sinking feeling as Altrincham slumped to their second 4-0 defeat in little over a fortnight at Solihull Moors.

After Saturday's 1-1 home draw with Notts County, the Alty boss promised to make full use of his squad, and he was as good as his word with a starting line-up showing no fewer than nine changes, Joel Senior and Toby Mullarkey being the only survivors from the weekend.

Alty started brightly, hitting the post and bar in a lively first half, but faded badly, as Solihull piled on the misery with three second half-goals to leave the Robins with just one point from their last six games.

Josh Hancock had Alty on the front foot as early as the fifth minute, as he wriggled between two defenders on the left of the area before curling a shot towards the far post that brought a diving save from keeper Ryan Boot.

Mullarkey looked determined to atone for recent lapses by Alty's backline, not least in the eighth minute, when his timely tackle prevented Kyle Hudlin from converting a low cross at the near post.

There was no shortage of incident at either end, and when the Robins launched another attack in the ninth minute, it so nearly led to a breakthrough that might just have given faltering confidence levels a much-needed boost.

James Hardy and Hancock combined to set up Yusifu Ceesay on the left of the area, and the winger's shot from close range completely wrong-footed Boot but hit the inside of the near post and bounced away to safety.

At the other end, Justin Donawa badly misdirected a header from the edge of the six-yard box and James Ball had a goalbound effort blocked by Mullarkey following a frantic goalmouth scramble.

Back came Alty, and when Hardy rolled the ball into the path of Sean Williams in the 25th minute, the Robins midfielder let fly with a 20-yard drive the cannoned back off the bar.

It was that sort of opening to the game, not exactly full of flowing football and pinpoint passing but not lacking in endeavour or goalmouth action.

The theme continued in the 29th minute, when Ceesay made his way to the bye-line and pulled the ball back for Hardy to spin and shoot narrowly wide of the near post.

When the tale of near-misses finally ended, though, it was once more down to Alty failing to deal with a set-piece.

A 38th-minute corner by Jordan Cranston was flicked on at the near post, and the ball was somehow allowed to travel beyond a long line of defenders to Jordan Thompson, who turned it over the line at the far post.

Alty at least started the second half with some positive intent, as Hardy sent Ceesay scampering clear down the left for a shot that was deflected for a corner that sailed over the heads of Hancock and Tom Peers and just eluded the outstretched leg of Joe Piggott.

It was, however, all downhill after that.

Attempting to clear a 57th-minute free-kick by Kyle Storer, substitute Shaun Densmore completely miscued his header and sent it flying into the top corner of his own net. The Alty defender might not have been helped by the ball dipping over the head of Mullarkey, standing just in front of him, but his reaction confirmed he was making no attempt to apportion blame elsewhere.

It became 3-0 in the 66th minute, when Hudlin fastened on to a through ball and surged clear of Yoan Zouma before sliding a shot through the legs of the advancing Matt Gould.

The rout was complete two minutes from time with another goal that looked far too easy for Parkinson's liking, as Callum Maycock slipped the ball through for Cameron Archer to finish coolly past Gould.

The weather had been truly atrocious, with a swirling near-gale accompanied by driving rain, but Parkinson and his assistant Neil Sorvel will be looking beyond that as they reflect on a second half capitulation and begin to formulate plans for next season.

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