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Report | Solihull Moors (a)

Vanarama National League | 28 January 2023


A week later than originally scheduled Notts completed their 4th double of the season, as a comeback win away from home ensured they took 6 points from Solihull Moors this season. Notts displayed a steely determination, coming from behind to win late, courtesy of 2 Ruben Rodrigues penalties.

Luke Williams fielded a strong side, with Cedwyn Scott and Geraldo Bajrami returning to the team, with the latter’s Man of the Match performance in the return fixture perhaps in the back of the boss’ mind. Despite this, it was actually the hosts who started the brighter of the 2 teams, a litany of mistakes causing unrest at the back for the Magpies.

The Moors got their tactics spot on, matching Notts for intensity, and taking the game to them. Their press was excellent, with Dallas and Maycock in particular harassing County defenders at any given opportunity. Notts themselves seemed lethargic at times, and it was the pressing work of midfielder Callum Maycock which provided the opening goal. Maycock turned the ball over in Notts’ half, before finding Dallas out on the right. The Scotsman made good inroads into County territory before returning the ball to Maycock, who swept home to finish the move he started. A great goal from the Moors, but the lack of energy in Notts’ midfield raised questions over the effectiveness of the double pivot.

Notts didn’t respond particularly well either, remaining on the back foot, looking to weather the storm. The hosts almost put the 3 points out of sight on the half hour mark, as once again Maycock forced a turnover in the Magpies' half. This time it was actually in Notts’ box, making the situation even more threatening, and when he picked out Dallas it looked certain to be 2-0. However, the 23 year old fluffed his lines, missing a gilt edged chance to double the lead.

It would be a mistake he would come to rue, as 5 minutes later Notts had a penalty after Scott was felled in the box. Rodrigues now had the chance to turn the game on its head, and as always he was the calmest man in the ground. He sent Boot the wrong way, stroking the ball in the bottom right hand corner to level the scores. Notts were back in it, but we’re still desperate for the half time whistle.

On the stroke of half time Andrew Dallas’ movement once again created a wonderful opportunity for the hosts. He ghosted in behind, and David Davis, who played in the Championship as recently as 2021, showed his quality. He clipped a ball behind the Notts defence, setting Dallas free, but once again he was unable to finish the chance, a let up just on the stroke of half time.

Both sides were unchanged as the second half commenced, but it was a repeat of the last action of the first half that kicked off the second period. Dallas once again got in behind, but once again he spurned his chance. Credit must be given to Slocombe, who came out of his goal well, forcing Dallas wide, making the chance considerably harder.

Notts fired back, this time through Langstaff, but he was unable to hit the target, his shot going agonisingly wide. Neither side could get a firm grasp of the game, with the momentum constantly shifting. David Davis once again found a ball over the top, picking out Dallas to provide Solihull with a chance to take the lead. This time he managed to get his shot away, but Notts defended well, blocking the ball behind for a corner, which ultimately came to nothing. Notts had a corner of their own shortly after, and skipper Kyle Cameron went extremely close. It looked like he’d given the visitors the lead, but heroics from Moor’s Donawa saw it cleared off the line.

Luke Williams opted to make his first changes with 25 minutes to play. Bajrami and Scott, both of who weren’t at their best, were replaced by Bostock and Jones, Notts’ newest recruits. Their EFL experience and quality would tell, with Bostock’s introduction especially turning the tide, and proving to be a crucial change in ensuring all 3 points.

Former Magpies boss Neal Ardley then made 2 changes of his own, both attacking. Dallas, who had a brilliant game, but lacked the composure to finish his chances, was replaced by Josh Kelly, and new signing Mark Beck made way for Joe Sbarra, a man linked with a move to Meadow Lane in recent weeks.

With just over 10 minutes left to play it looked like both sides were beginning to run out of both time and ideas. However, midfielder Matty Palmer had other ideas, driving into the Moors box and ultimately winning Notts’ their second penalty of the night. Rodrigues stepped up for the second time, and dispatched this effort in arguably more devastating fashion. Rodrigues rifled the ball into the roof of the net, putting the Magpies in front for the first time all evening. It was now their job to defend the lead, something which would have made for a nervy last 10 in the past.

However, Luke Williams’ Notts appear to be a different animal. They relished the responsibility of going in front, Both sides made changes in the final 10, with Derby County loanee Cybulski taking the place of Davis for the hosts, and Sam Austin coming on for brace scoring Rodrigues. It was Notts who went closest to grabbing the 4th goal of the game, Langstaff once again threatening with a fierce strike going just wide. Substitute Josh Kelly had a chance in the 5 minutes of stoppage time, but he headed over, the final chance in a tense affair.

Notts had come from behind to win away from home, a victory which ensured their unbeaten run extended to 20 games; a new club record. Luke Williams and his side continue to amaze us, and whilst it wasn’t our prettiest performance it was an effective one. It feels like something special is brewing.


Solihull were the first team in a while to reduce the gap in match actions. Moors pressing stats were amongst the worst in the league prior to this game but they managed to employ the press to good effect, especially in the first half, with the goal coming from a turnover in possession after Cameron failed to keep hold of the ball.

In fact looking at the match action radar it's clear to see how much Solihull squeezed Notts in most areas.

The two penalties had a massive impact on the xG data and meant which ever way look at at it a Notts win, on paper was much more expected than it felt like watching the game.

The xG timeline shows clearly how Notts didn't start to get their act together until the latter stages of the first half. After the break Notts improved and the addition of Bostock and Jones also had a positive impact on the game and result.

This was also a game that Ruben Rodrigues came to the fore, not just cooling converting the two penalties but the fact he had more shots on goal than any other player on the pitch

Based on the match xG the xPTS for Notts comes out at 2.27 compared to just 0.48 for The Shaymen.

Notts came out of the game with a 67.55% expected win percentage with Halifax's expected win percentage a lowly 7.85% confirming just how one way this game was.

Diesruvwe had the one and only attempt on goal for Halifax, a header from a corner that recorded an xG of 0.09.

Macaulay Langstaff's goal came in at a high 0.55 xG in a match that saw him have 4 chances and a total xG of 1.05.

Jim O'Brien pitched in with 3 attempts alongside Rodrigues.


Season stats updated below.

The win sees Notts PPG increase to 2.345 meaning they are currently on course for just under 108 points for the season.

Ruben's brace from the spot puts him on 11 goals for the season and sees him on 21 direct goal contributions for the season so far.

Points wise Notts' home and away records are identical on 34 points albeit one more game has been played on the road and despite the defeat to Dorking, 2.27 PPG away from home sees The Magpies top of the away table by some margin with Woking the closest on PPG with 2.00 on the road.


Player Stats - National League:


A Look ahead to Torquay away.

Travelling Notts fans will be hoping it’s a repeat of the game at Meadow Lane, rather than a trip similar to our last visit to Plainmoor, as the Magpies look to extend their unbeaten run to 21. There have been 22 goals in the last 5 games between the pair, so exciting football down on the South coast is expected.

While Torquay are still in the relegation zone, they have improved considerably of late. Unbeaten in 4 in all competitions, Gary Johnson appears to have started a turnaround in Devon, making this a more dangerous proposition than many think. A switch to a back 3 has proven fruitful, with the Gulls conceding just 1 goal in their last 3 league outings.

The switch in formation has not only made Torquay more solid, but it’s also provided additional goal threat. The system allows the use of 2 strikers, adding extra bodies in the box, and with support from the wing backs they look an altogether more threatening side. It proved successful away to 3rd place Woking last time out, as new signing Tope Fadhunsi grabbed his first goal for the club, a player included due to the use of 2 strikers.

We expect Torquay to line up with the same shape, looking to sit in and hit Notts on the counter. The extra bodies in defence will, in theory, make it harder for Notts to penetrate the box, and on recent showings Torquay have looked far more solid. Experienced defender Jon Moxey has been crucial in organising the defence, being a real leader from the LCB position. Keeper Halstead has made 90 saves already this term, and he has played a large part in Torquay’s upturn in defensive fortunes. He is likely to be busy again this weekend, as Notts are the side who have taken the most shots, 455, in the division.

As mentioned, Torquay’s main attacking opportunities are likely to be on the counter attack. Speedster Dillon De Silva is likely to be the key to this, and last time out the QPR loanee looked to have Aaron Nemane beaten for pace. Capable of playing on either side, De Silva is likely to be their out ball, and their quickest route into Notts’ half. Whilst he perhaps lacks end product, De Silva is a fantastic ball carrier. He attempts 7.88 dribbles per 90, 5th most in the division, highlighting his determination to run with the ball.

If Torquay are to grab a goal, their attacking pairing of Tope Fadhunsi and Aaron Jarvis are the most likely candidates. The pair have scored 1 each in the last 2 games, and with 7 goals Jarvis is comfortably Torquay’s top scorer. Dubbed the ‘non-league Giroud’, perhaps more for his looks than his play style, Jarvis makes himself a real handful for opposition defenders. At 6ft2 he has good physicality, allowing him to use his strong hood up play to bring others into the game. However, as Notts are likely to dominate Jarvis will be feeding off scraps, so his poaching instincts will be vital.

A tough game facing the magpies but another 3 points helps pile the pressure on Wrexham before their late kick-off at Alty.

As always thanks for reading.



For Notts County Stats:

Richard - @notts_stats

Tom - @tomhwilliams23

Colin - @Colin_Sisson



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