Rodrigues 24 pen, Wootton 28, Boldewijn 64


WEYMOUTH were outclassed by a purring Notts County as the Magpies cruised to an entertaining 3-0 win at Meadow Lane, booking a Vanarama National League play-off spot.

County hit their stride in the first half with some fast, incisive play.

The Magpies got the opener their performance deserved as Ruben Rodrigues converted a penalty, stemming from Jake McCarthy’s foul on Jake Reeves.

Kyle Wootton added a second after keeper Ethan Ross slipped but the Terras wasted two decent chances through Andy Dallas.

Notts hit the bar via Richard Brindley but sub Enzio Boldewijn notched a third in the 64th minute and chief tormentor Rodrigues also hit the post in a high-quality display.

READ MORE: Notts County 3-0 Weymouth - how it happened

With injuries and furlough limiting Weymouth’s options, the visitors were unchanged – as were Notts County.

Midfielder Jack Dickson was the only absentee from Weymouth’s 3-1 defeat to Boreham Wood in midweek, with the Terras naming just four substitutes.

County came into this game knowing a victory would guarantee a play-off spot and, unsurprisingly, made a cagey start in their first appearance in front of home fans for 434 days.

Weymouth’s best opportunity in the opening stages was a header for Brennan Camp, who ballooned a header over from Ollie Harfield’s searching diagonal ball.

Visiting keeper Ethan Ross did well to punch clear a Jake Reeves corner before Rodrigues was retrospectively booked for a late challenge on Jake McCarthy.

As referee Scott Simpson played advantage, Andy Dallas hooked over before Rodrigues was cautioned.

The incident triggered the Magpies into turning up the heat as the Meadow Lane crowd got behind their side.

McCarthy made a superb defensive header to clear with Wootton poised to bury a header and Reeves scooped over after a deflection from Calvin Miller’s cross landed perfectly for him 18 yards out.

County were flying now and Ross rescued Weymouth with a tremendous double save, showing agility to push clear Dion Kelly-Evans’ low volley and getting up in time to block Rodrigues’ follow-up.

But midway through the half, Ross was powerless to stop the Magpies from scoring a penalty.

Rodrigues started the move, working Ross again, and the keeper’s parry was collected by a sliding Wootton whose ball to Reeves tempted McCarthy into tripping the midfielder in the box.

Double jeopardy spared McCarthy from a red card as a booking sufficed, Rodrigues then sending Ross the wrong way.

Dorset Echo: Ruben Rodrigues, right, tormented Weymouth Picture: MARK PROBINRuben Rodrigues, right, tormented Weymouth Picture: MARK PROBIN

Rodrigues was tormenting Weymouth with his pace, ability to wriggle away from challenges and passing range.

It came as no shock when the midfielder was at the heart of County’s second goal in the 28th minute.

The Portuguese escaped three challenges and slid an inch-perfect ball through for Wootton, who bought a cheap foul from Camp for a yellow.

Rodrigues then fired in the free-kick, which looped up off the wall and caused Ross to slip on the goalline, affording Wootton a simple tap-in from a yard.

To their credit, Weymouth responded brightly as Calvin Brooks fired over, while Dallas whizzed a volley over the near post following a horrid back-header from Mark Ellis.

Dallas had another sight of goal five minutes from the break as Rodrigues was caught in possession but the former Rangers academy striker could only drive powerfully at Sam Slocombe.

Dorset Echo: Andy Dallas, left, fires on target for Weymouth Picture: MARK PROBINAndy Dallas, left, fires on target for Weymouth Picture: MARK PROBIN

County really should have gone in 3-0 up at the break as Ellis picked out Richard Brindley from a corner, only for the defender to nod against the bar from six yards.

Weymouth started strongly after the resumption, McQuoid blazing over from 30 yards and Slocombe catching the Terras’ skipper’s cross following good work from McCarthy on the slide.

But County soon resumed their dominance as Wootton pinched the ball off Camp near the byline before Ross diluted the danger.

Wootton headed a good chance at the Lincoln loanee and Rodrigues saw a shot blocked by McCarthy as the Magpies relentlessly hunted a third.

And it came as sub Boldewijn – four minutes after his introduction – sidefooted home Wootton’s astute lay-off to settle the contest.

With a play-off place now assured, County’s confidence was flowing as Brindley took aim from 30 yards and Rodrigues fluffed an overhead-kick.

Miller forced Ross into another save before County somehow avoided scoring a fourth when the sparkling Rodrigues hit the post and saw his follow-up cleared off the line by Jacob Mensah, Boldewijn then denied by Ross.

Dorset Echo: Jacob Mensah, right, cleared a shot off the line for Weymouth Picture: MARK PROBINJacob Mensah, right, cleared a shot off the line for Weymouth Picture: MARK PROBIN

Weymouth replied with a scuffed Andy Robinson shot and Rodrigues marched clear from the clearance before Ross again saved Weymouth’s blushes.

As Weymouth chased a consolation, gaps widened for Rodrigues to exploit – although his terrible ball was cushioned straight back to him by Camp only for the final finish to evade him.

Boldewijn cut inside and shanked wide as Weymouth were cut open again but the Terras ploughed on as Worman worked Slocombe in the 90th minute.

Overall, Notts County were rarely threatened and the Magpies look hot favourites for promotion via the play-offs on this evidence.

Weymouth cannot now finish as the highest-placed promoted side after Altrincham's 4-3 win over Yeovil.

Notts County: Slocombe, Miller, Chicksen, Ellis, Brindley, Kelly-Evans (Boldewijn 60), Doyle, O'Brien, Reeves (Sam 80), Rodrigues (Griffiths 83), Wootton. Subs not used: Turner, Rawlinson.

Terras: Ross, Camp (Leslie-Smith 83), McCarthy, McQuoid (Fonkeu 70), Robinson (Ngalo 78), Brooks, Dallas, Mensah, Murray, Harfield, Worman. Sub not used: Benfield.

Referee: Scott Simpson

Attendance: 4,197