Next up at Bower Fold is the next instalment in Celtic?s FA Trophy saga with Solihull Borough visiting on Saturday for a 3pm kick-off. Solihull are currently thirteenth in the DML Division 1 West, about fifty teams below Celtic.
Our only previous meeting with the Birmingham outfit was back in October 1997 when we met in the FA Cup third qualifying round at home we drew 3-3 forcing an away trip. In those days they ground shared with Moor Green ? a role now reversed. We were in the Conference in those days, and they were one division below us. Despite having the now ?Soccer-AM? famous Lee Trundle playing for us, they took us to extra time, drawing 3-3 at the end of normal time, and beat us 4-3.
Some measure of revenge in order then?
That might not be as easy as the two teams? relative positions suggests though, and Solihull should not be taken lightly. They have got to this round (their best ever placing since their formation in 1953), having beaten Harrogate Town (at home) and Hednesford Town (away). They have also beaten Eversham United and Ashford Town ? all these teams are placed above them in the league structure. The game against Harrogate was a narrow victory for them, with Harrogate having the better of the play, but failing to score in the 1-0 win.
Solihull have lost just one game in their last ten (with six wins), and are on something of a roll. In the thirty-five games that they have played this season, they have won sixteen and drawn nine of them, though the games that they have lost have knocked them out of the FA Cup and the Birmingham Senior Cup. They have a goal per game ratio of 1.5, and conceding 1.1 per game. Solihull Borough have kept eleven clean sheets, and failed to score in fifteen games also, with only one 0-0 draw.
Their main danger man so far this season is Justin Marsden, who has found the net thirteen times (twice in the Trophy), whilst their top Trophy goal-scorer is Dave Pearson, who has scored four times in the Trophy, and nine times overall. Pearson is currently the hot-shot for Borough at the moment, having scored in his last three games.
Justin Marsden will be unlikely to feature in the game having broken his ankle in the Hednesford game. Celtic will definitely be without the services of Jody Banim and Chris Price, the former due to the knee injury picked up in the Hyde game in the Trophy and the latter with the Red Card picked up against Droylsden in the league. Hopefully, however, the lengthy lay-off since the Hyde game on January the second will have given our other walking wounded chance to recover.
The injury hit side that face Hyde United in our 2-1 loss was:
1. Paul Pettinger
2. Grant Black
3. Scott Maxfield
4. Mark Barnard
5. Farrell Kilbane
6. Ben Smith
7. Steve Garvey
8. Paul Sykes
9. Lee Ellington
10. Phil Eastwood
11. Neil Prince
Solihull are something of an unknown quantity, it being so long since we faced them, but this presents us with a great chance to get into third round, and the last sixteen, and it is one we must take. Solihull will be out to continue their best ever Trophy run and collect the ?5,000 prize fund. A replay, should one be necessary would postpone the Crewe Cheshire Senior cup game, and take place on the 18th of January at Damson Park.