Two sides battling for the Vanarama National League play-offs we’re forced to settle for a point, as Solihull Moors and Notts County cancelled one another out.
The Pies were unable to steal the three points despite an emphatic performance from Ruben Rodrigues, who clinched two goals and an assist.
He wasn’t the only man to get a brace however, as Andrew Dallas netted a penalty and a composed finish.
Alex Lacey also found himself on the scoresheet, along with a wonder strike from Ryan Barnett.
Neal Ardley named two changes in his side, as Jamey Osborne and Mark Ellis came into the starting lineup in place of Callum Howe and Danny Newton.
Solihull Moors (5-4-1): Boot; Clarke, Gudger, Ellis, Storer, Boyes; Barnett, Osborne, Maycock, Sbarra; Dallas
Notts County head coach Ian Burchnall had to face the issue of illness in his squad, with player of the month winner Elisha Sam and Matty Palmer, who hadn’t missed a minute of league action prior to tonight, were both missing. As a result, Burchnall was forced into four changes, with Sam, Palmer, Jayden Richardson and the injured Kyle Cameron making way for Frank Vincent, Dion Kelly-Evans, Zak Brunt and Connell Rawlinson.
Notts County (4-2-3-1): Jaros; Kelly-Evans, Rawlinson, Lacey, Chicksen; Francis, Brunt; Roberts, Rodrigues, Vincent; Wootton
Story of the match
Prior to kick-off, Notts head coach Burchnall had been full of praise for their opponents, and in particular striker Dallas, describing him as a ‘really good centre-forward’.
Burchnall would be made to rue those words however, as the former Rangers and Cambridge United striker gave the Moors the lead from the spot, after an initial handball from Kyle Wootton forced the referee to grant a penalty.
The home side’s lead wouldn’t last very long however, as Notts County responded just 12 minutes later through Portugese starlet Rodrigues. A cross from Adam Chicksen was poorly cleared by Alex Gudger, allowing Rodrigues to arrow a low strike past the outstretched Ryan Boot.
Notts looked to immediately grasp the lead too, as a lovely threaded ball found Sheffield United loanee Brunt, but his chipped effort clattered the post before being scrambled clear.
There would be more controversy surrounding Middleton however, as the referee called for Solihull’s second penalty after Dallas went down under the challenge of goalkeeper Vitezslav Jaros. However, upon reflection, protests and a conversation with the linesman, the referee overturned his own decision.
Heading into the second half, Notts County quickly took control of the game. Following a brilliant save from Boot, the subsequent corner found the head of Lacey, who powered home his second goal in two games.
Solihull introduced Kyle Hudlin, who had attracted interest from EFL clubs in January, as the 6”9 striker had a headed effort cradled by Jaros.
But with the Moors applying the pressure for an equaliser, they would get one, via Dallas. Some excellent build-up play between Ryan Barnett and Mansfield Town loanee James Clarke allowed the latter to drag the ball back to Dallas, who could hammer past Jaros.
Despite it being Sam who won the player of the month for February, Rodrigues was keen to show he had the quality himself, as he immediately showed a fantastic response. A ball into Kyle Wootton allowed the forward to roll his man and slide Rodrigues in behind, who raced through on goal and calmly slipped the ball past Boot.
Into the closing stages of the match, it would need something special for Solihull to get back into the game against a defensively solid Notts County side, and up stepped former Shrewsbury Town man Barnett. From 25-yards out, the winger pounced on a clearance and rifles the ball through a crowd of bodies to grant Solihull their equaliser, and a crucial point in the race for the play-offs.
The Portuguese forward showed his class for Burchnall, with two goals and a brace helping Notts County to a crucial point in the Vanarama National League, with the Pies continuing with their play-off run.