Words John Edwards Pictures Jonathan Moore
Marcus Dackers endearingly described himself as "more than just a lamppost" on his arrival from Salford City during the week, but he was certainly a shining light in an outstanding team performance as Altrincham returned to winning ways in stunning fashion at The J.Davidson Stadium.
The on-loan 6ft 7in striker could scarcely have wished for a better start to his time with the Robins than marking his debut with the goal that paved the way for Alty's second 6-1 Vanarama National League win of the season - against a team three places above them in fourth position, at that.
What a way to bounce back from two successive defeats, a riveting exhibition of unstoppable attacking football that swept Solihull aside and reinforced Alty's credentials as genuine play-off contenders.
In an AltyTV interview 24 hours before kick-off, giant frontrunner Dackers outlined a list of attributes that extend far beyond merely winning his share of headers, and they were all on view in an opening quarter-of-an-hour that earned him instant approval among Robins fans.
After barely 20 seconds, he announced himself by rising above one of Solihull's central defenders to win his first aerial duel wide on the right flank. In the third minute, he out-muscled another defender before producing an exquisite touch that opened up space for a pass to Justin Amaluzor, who went on to win a corner.
Three minutes later, he started and very nearly finished a move that involved Amaluzor and Lewis Banks, while, seconds after that, his far-post header set up Alex Newby for a glorious chance the winger mishit wide.
It could hardly have been a more positive start for the 20-year old, but there was still more to come after 13 minutes, as he added cool, clinical finishing to an already high-calibre contribution.
The equally-impressive Amaluzor powered forward before slipping the ball to Newby on his left, and when his low shot deflected off keeper Sam Hornby and spun high into the air beyond the far post, Dackers was on hand to make scoring from the tightest of angles look like simplicity itself.
Alty didn't have it all their own way early on, and Ethan Ross had to be alert to deny Josh Kelly twice in quick succession in the ninth and 12th minutes.
But there was a welcome ruthlessness about the Robins whenever they ventured towards the Solihull area, and there were further goals and even more near-misses in what was a pulsating first half.
A clever set-piece routine almost worked to perfection in the 31st minute, as Chris Conn-Clarke set up Amaluzor for a piledriver of a shot that looked bound for the top corner until deflecting off a defender and flying a few inches over.
Dackers was having his shirt pulled as Alty prepared to take a corner seconds later and was hauled to the floor when it was duly delivered, both apparent misdemeanours going unpunished by the referee.
There was nothing Solihull could do to keep Alty out, though, as the Robins added another two goals to their tally in quick succession in a spectacular end to the half.
First, Amaluzor weaved one way then the other in the 40th minute before cutting in and curling a low left-foot shot that bent inside the far post for an exceptional solo goal by the in-form winger.
Three minutes later, a Dackers shot was half-blocked, and Conn-Clarke reacted quickest to the ball spinning to a halt on the edge of the six-yard box to gleefully prod home Alty's third.
There was no let-up by the Robins at the start of the second half as they went in search of a fourth goal and almost came up with one when Conn-Clarke whipped in a shot that Hornby saved diving to his right.
It was only a temporary reprieve for suffering Solihull as Alty carved them open again to make it 4-0 in the 51st minute.
A slick interchange of passes led to Conn-Clarke surging forward, and when he rolled the ball to his left, Newby met it with a first-time shot that curled beyond the reach of the diving Hornby on its way into the top corner for a goal that brought the house down.
Still the Robins weren't finished, as they kept pouring forward in numbers and made it 5-0 with another goal-of-the-game contender in the 76th minute.
Receiving the ball midway inside his own half, Elliot Osborne looked up and measured a perfectly-weighted pass into the path of Amaluzor. The Alty winger made short work of losing his marker before striding forward and beating the advancing Hornby all ends up with a delightful dink over the outwitted Solihull keeper.
An 88th-minute header by Kade Craig reduced the arrears, but on an afternoon when the temperature kept dropping but Alty's intensity didn't, it was the home side who had the last word in stoppage time as substitute Regan Linney left a defender trailing with a change of direction before clipping a low shot past Hornby to put the seal on an outstanding Robins performance.
Alty Ross; Banks, E.Jones, Ja.Jones (c), Osborne, Marriott, Conn-Clarke (Wilson, 77'), Amaluzor (Linney 79'), Roscoe, Dackers, Newby (Donawa 73'). Subs not used: Angus, Cooper.
Solihull Hornby, Clarke, Osborne, Morrison, Maycock, Beck (Stevens 77), Kelly, Mafuta, Labadie, Stearman (Warburton, 58'), Benn (Craig, 54'). Subs not used: Benton, Sturridge.
Goals Dackers (Newby) 13', Amaluzor 40', Conn-Clarke (Dackers) 43', Amaluzor (Osborne) 76', Linney 90' | Craig 88'
Yellows Labadie 38'
Referee Kirsty Dowle
Assistants Danny Guest & Wayne Cooper
Fourth official Lewis Dawson
Attendance 2,041 (99 away fans)
Stalybridge Celtic are the visitors to the J.Davidson Stadium on Tuesday for a second round clash in the Cheshire Senior Cup.
Reduced admission prices in operation - tickets on sale - altrinchamfc.com/products/altrincham-v-stalybridge-celtic-cheshire-senior-cup