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Match Reports

Solihull 3-3 Notts

Frantic night at the Armco Arena

8 March 2022

We played out a frenetic 3-3 draw at Solihull Moors in the Vanarama National League.

After Andy Dallas had given the hosts the lead with a penalty, we turned the game on its head with a Ruben Rodrigues finish before the break and an Alex Lacey header in the second period.

Dallas restored parity before Rodrigues put us back in front with a lovely finish.

But in the dying embers Ryan Barnett produced a stunning long-range strike to earn his side a point.

Ian Burchnall was forced into making four changes from the side that drew with Halifax the previous weekend.

Kyle Cameron pulled up with a hamstring injury in that game, leaving him with only a watching brief at the Armco Arena, while Jayden Richardson had to settle for a place on the bench with a tight hamstring of his own.

Matt Palmer and Elisha Sam both missed out through illness, so it was a patched-up Magpies team which took to the field on a cold evening in the West Midlands.

Vitezslav Jaros kept his place in goal, shielded by a back four of Adam Chicksen, Lacey, Connell Rawlinson and Dion Kelly-Evans.

A three-man midfield of Ed Francis, Frank Vincent and Zak Brunt were charged with supplying the ammo for Cal Roberts, Rodrigues and Kyle Wootton in attack.

It was the nightmare start as, shortly after Callum Maycock had struck the outside of the post from a tight angle, the referee spotted an unfortunate Chicksen handball at a corner, awarding the hosts a seventh-minute penalty which was converted down the middle by Dallas.

We were level 11 minutes later, however, as Chicksen’s blocked shot landed at the feet of Rodrigues, who produced a clinical finish into the bottom corner from just inside the area.

And we so nearly turned the game on its head almost immediately after the restart when Rodrigues played an incisive pass for Brunt in the area. The loanee took the ball in his stride beautifully, keeping it away from a defender and dinking it beyond the onrushing keeper. Unfortunately, it rebounded off the post and was cleared to safety.

Three minutes later Solihull were awarded another very harsh looking penalty after Jaros appeared to cleanly take the ball when sliding in to challenge Dallas, only for the referee to point to the spot. Following huge Notts protestations and consultation with his assistant, however, he overturned his decision.

It was proving to be an even first half with Solihull regularly displaying their threat without carving out clear-cut chances.

And we had another big opportunity to take the lead on 35 minutes when the ball presented itself to Rodrigues in a wide attacking position. Roberts was in acres of space in the area and looked certain to score if his Portuguese team-mate could pick him out, but there was too much pace on the pass and it ran out for a goal kick.

The sides emerged for the second half unchanged and we made a bright start to the second half, the ball bouncing out of a crowded penalty area to Brunt who could only send his shot over.

Solihull responded with two good chances of their own, seeing an effort cleared off the line before Lacey blocked from Dallas.

But, three minutes later, Lacey played a pivotal role at the other end as, after Rawlinson had seen an effort well saved by Ryan Boot at his near post, Lacey climbed highest to score his second header in as many games from the subsequent corner.

Rodrigues saw an effort blocked and Aaron Nemane replaced Vincent shortly after the hour.

But there was nothing the substitute could do to prevent Moors restoring parity on 71 minutes as the ball looped up kindly for Dallas to finish inside the area.

There was to be no feeling sorry for ourselves, however, as we regained the lead two minutes later in sensational style.

Rawlinson dinked a pass into Wootton, who rolled former Magpie Mark Ellis and played the perfect through ball to match Rodrigues’ run. Despite the best efforts of a defender to bring him down, Rodrigues had too much pace and produced a sensational finish in front of the away end.

Kelly-Evans went down with cramp shortly afterwards and, with Richardson being deemed too high-risk after struggling in the warm-up, Joel Taylor slotted in at right back with 10 minutes of normal time remaining.

But the hosts piled on the pressure and it told on 86 minutes when we cleared the ball only as far as Barnett, whose sensational half-volley stayed low and found the bottom corner from range.

Four added minutes were indicated and a few nervy moments were to follow for both defences, Roberts skipping to the byline and seeing his dinked cross well claimed by Boot, but in the end the sides had to settle for a point.

STARTING XI: Jaros; Chicksen, Lacey, Rawlinson, Kelly-Evans (Taylor 79'); Francis, Brunt, Vincent (Nemane 64'); Rodrigues, Roberts, Wootton

SUBS: Slocombe, Richardson, Mitchell

BOOKINGS: Kelly-Evans 17', Francis 45'

ATTENDANCE: 2,120 (650)


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