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Report: Solihull Moors 1 Blues 3

Two goals by Clayton Donaldson and another from Diego Fabbrini ensured that their opening pre-season friendly would end in victory.

And although they could have certainly scored more - in both halves - they were made to work after the break.

Blues settled quickly and their quality and slickness soon took hold.

Jacques Maghoma was a major threat down the left hand side and Diego Fabbrini delighted with his skilful, elusive talent.

Danny Lewis had to tip over a deflected Jonathan Grounds cross-shot in the 10th minute as Blues took command.

And it wasn't long after when the breakthrough came, when Fabbrini spread the play out wide, Grounds delivered a fine inswinging cross and Donaldson, from eight yards, got free to power a downward header into the bottom corner (17).

Jonathan Spector should have added to the tally from an inviting free-kick into the area by Robert Tesche but put his header over on the run.

In the 28th minute Blues got their second, and it was a fine, flowing move across the width of the pitch that created the opportunity.

Grounds invited Maghoma to advance on the left and his ball back from the byline was swept into the top corner at the near post by Fabbrini, with his sidefoot.

Fabbrini was in his element by now, his wizardry causing all sorts of problems, while Blues wide players were also enjoying themselves.

Josh Cogley, in to start at right-back, gave a vibrant performance, too.

From Viv Solomon-Otabor's 34th minute corner Spector got across his marker to send a flashing header goalwards and there was Donaldson, virtually on the goal line, to stoop, twist and glance it in.

Blues only worry in the first-half was when a Solihull trialist flicked on a cross and Grounds got in a good position to thwart Akwasi Asante, moving in front of him to divert the ball away with his knee.

Donaldson, sent clear down the inside left channel by Fabbrini, was denied a hat-trick as Lewis spread himself and stopped his sidefooter with his legs.

Tesche sent a strong header over the bar from a lovely Fabbrini cross and Lewis made a good parrying stop from Maghoma, who came in on the side to meet a Donaldson centre from the right, just before Solihull gained some respite with the interval whistle.

At the break Gary Rowett changed his eleven but kept the same 4-2-3-1 formation.

Nicolai Brock-Madsen and Koby Arthur flanked Andrew Shinnie, with James Vaughan up top.

Adam Legzdins was called into action immediately, making a smart low save.

But in the next 10 minutes Vaughan could have helped himself to four goals as a much-changed Solihull side struggled for a pattern.

Nathan Vaughan pushed out a measured low attempt by Vaughan from the left of the area.

And when Shinnie unselfishly set him up in the middle of the box after Solihull were unhinged again, his luck was out as a defender threw himself in the path of his shot to block.

Vaughan also made a good save from a sweeping effort by Koby Arthur, who swapped passes from a short corner with Dwight Tiendalli.

However, Blues let their guard slip in the 63rd minute. Brock-Madsen appeared to be shoved out of the way on the right of the area, but play continued and one of several Solihull trialists stuck a low shot past Legzdins and inside the far post.

Then it could have got very hairy for Blues when, six minutes later, Solihull got the better of Michael Morrison near the byline and sent the ball back to Lewis Hayden, who was around 10 yards range.

Fortunately Legzdins was swift to react and saved a firm sidefooter with his body.

With 14 minutes left Legzdins was again there to thank for Blues, tipping round a fierce shot from Stefan Moore from a pull-back.

Blues were certainly not as secure or composed as they were in the opening period and, likewise, the hosts played with more energy and purpose in the final third.

Near the end Arthur might have extended Blues advantage but he curled wide a right-footer, cutting back in from the left.

Solihull Moors first-half: Lewis, Trialist, Franklin, Daly, Streete, Trialist, Asante, Byrne, Brown, Beswick, Knights.

Solihull Moors second-half: Vaughan, Cowan, Trialist, Kelly, Moore, Osborne, White, Hayden, Trialist, Trialist,
Trialist.

Blues first-half: Kuszczak, Cogley, Grounds, Robinson, Spector, Tesche, Davis, Solomon-Otabor, Fabbrini, Maghoma, Donaldson.

Blues second-half: Legzdins, Caddis, Tiendalli, Shotton, Morrison, Kieftenbeld, Gleeson, Brock-Madsen, Arthur, Shinnie, Vaughan.

Not used: Weaver, Bernard, Adams, McFarlane, Storer.


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