Solihull Moors will face Grimsby Town in the National League play-off final after both teams earned thrilling wins in the weekend’s semi-final matches. With the two games producing no less than 13 goals, it showed the fierce determination of the teams fighting for a place in the English Football League.
Grimsby beat Wrexham in nine-goal thriller
Grimsby Town continued their fine run of late wins with a breath-taking 5-4 extra-time victory away at Wrexham. The North Wales side claimed the lead with a Paul Mullins penalty in the 13th minute, but Grimsby’s John McAtee scored the equaliser just two minutes later.
The game was tied 1-1 at half-time but Luke Waterfall put Grimsby ahead just after the break. Following this, Wrexham scored two goals in three minutes thanks to strikes from Mullins and Ben Tozer, but Grimsby just wouldn’t go away and Ryan Taylor and Mani Dieseruvwe put the visitors ahead again. However, Jordan Davies equalised for Wrexham in the 80th minute and put the game into extra-time.
A typically nervous period of extra-time followed before Waterfall scored his second and the match-winner in the 119th minute. While there were relatively few Grimsby fans in North Wales that night, the exuberance of the celebrations more than made up for the lack of numbers. The win means that Grimsby’s absence from the EFL could now be mercifully short while Wrexham will head into their 15th season outside of the league.
Solihull claim fine win over Chesterfield
While Grimsby’s win over Wrexham was a surprise, things went a little more to plan for Solihull Moors. The team put in a convincing home display as they beat Chesterfield 3-1 and booked their National League final place against Grimsby this Sunday.
However, it wasn’t a totally easy win for Solihull as the Spireites claimed an early lead in the seventh minute when Joe Quigley latched onto a cross from Liam Mandeville. From this, Solihull showed plenty of resolve and equalised just eight minutes later thanks to Andrew Dallas converting a fine through-ball.
Solihull even went into the half-time break a goal up when Alex Gudger scrambled home a loose ball from a corner. Chesterfield could have equalised the game just after the break had Calvin Miller managed to convert a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
This gave Solihull all of the impetus needed to extend their lead just two minutes later when Callum Howe scored a fine header in the 59th minute. From here, Chesterfield put a lot of effort into getting back into the game but couldn’t produce anything of value.
The win means that Solihull now have an excellent chance of playing in the EFL for the very first time. But with Grimsby Town showing an ability to continuously defy the bookies and grab some very late winners, it’s going to be an epic showdown at Wembley on Sunday.