This week’s live National League fixture comes from East London, as Dagenham & Redbridge host Soihull Moors at the Chigwell Construction Stadium. In a match that pits 13th place against 4th, it is sure to be an intriguing game on Saturday evening.
The hosts had a poor start to the season, with this being compounded by a shock 1-0 defeat away to 7th-tier Bracknell in the FA Cup. However, since this shock, Ben Strevens side have been in good form, beating Woking (2-1) and Ebbsfleet (0-1) with late goals, while also beating Dorking 1-3 away. A 3-1 home defeat to Boreham Wood in the midst of this has scuppered the chances of four wins from four, but the Daggers are certainly a team in form.
With 21 goals scored and 25 conceded in 19 games, Dagenham & Redbridge average 2.42 goals per game. If Dagenham and Redbridge are to close the five-point gap to the playoff places, their home form will need to improve. Strevens side have picked up just nine points in front of their home fans, with only York, Woking, and Kidderminster having worse home records. With only one clean sheet at home, coming in the 1-0 win over high-flying Barnet, captain and goalkeeper Elliot Justham will be hoping for an improvement in his defence.
While Chesterfield and Barnet have been the standout duo in the National League thus far, Bromley and Solihull Moors have been the ‘best of the rest', with the Moors currently sitting in fourth place with 34 points in 18 games. At the age of 39, Andy Whing is one of the youngest managers in the league and secured his move to Solihull Moors after a couple of impressive seasons with Banbury, securing promotion to the sixth tier for the first time in the club's history before leading them to an unprecedented 17th-place finish.
After an unbeaten August, Solihull Moors sat atop the National League, leading Whing to claim the Manager of the Month award in his first month at the club. In fact, it took until the 7th of October for the Moors to lose their first game of the season, being edged out 0-1 by Aldershot. This was followed up by a 5-0 defeat at buoyant Southend, before recovering by drawing 1-1 at Barnet and beating Wealdstone 1-0.
Whing’s side have been impressive in a number of metrics, with only Chesterfield (1) losing less games than Solihull Moors and only Halifax (17) and Bromley (18) conceding fewer goals. Away from home, the Moors have picked up 18 points in nine games, the best record outside the top two.
In a topsy-turvey season for Dagenham & Redbridge, they managed to finish in 10th place, scoring 61 and conceding 72 goals in their 46 games, for an average of 2.89 goals per game. The hosts did the double over this weekend’s visitors, securing a 0-3 victory away from home, before an Inih Effiong brace saw them edge Solihull Moors 2-1 at home.
Home form was a major reason why Dagenham & Redbridge finished seven points off the playoffs, with the Daggers picking up only 35 points in front of their home fans, ranking them 15th for this metric.
After devastatingly losing the playoff final in the 2021–2022 season, Moors fans could be forgiven for having high hopes going into the 2022–2023 season. However, it was a disappointing season for the Midlands side, finishing in 15th position, closer to the relegation zone than the playoffs. 62 goals scored and 66 conceded saw Solihull Moors games average 2.78 goals. They ranked 16th for home form, one point behind Saturday’s opponents, with 34 points at the ARMCO stadium. Away from home, Solihull ranked 12th, with 24 points in 23 games. With 39 conceded in 23 away games, the Moors were disappointing defensively. This poor season led to the shock mutual cancellation of Neal Ardley’s contract.
With 13 goals in 34 appearances, Andy Dallas was surprisingly loaned to Chesterfield, something that derailed the season. Joe Sbarra won players player of the Year despite missing the last few weeks with an injury that has kept him out this season thus far. His goals and attacking prowess has proven to be tough to replace.
Inih Effiong has had a prolific few seasons in the National League. The 32-year-old scored 13 goals in 40 appearances with Woking in the 2021–2022 season. He then controversially moved to fierce rivals Aldershot, scoring 14 goals in the opening 30 games of the season, causing Dagenham & Redbridge to sign him halfway through the season, scoring nine goals in nine appearances and finishing the season with 23 goals. His fine form has continued this season, scoring four goals in nine appearances, including three in his last four. One of these goals was a last-minute winner against former club Woking, which the striker took real glee in doing. His goals were crucial in replacing Josh Walker, who scored 10 in 24 before signing for Burton in January.
Due to the injury of talisman Joe Sbarra, Josh Kelly has taken over as the Moors main man. The 24-year-old signed from Maidenhead last summer after a 15-goal season for the relegation battlers. Last season, Kelly scored 11 in 45 before taking on the main-man mantel and bagging eight in 16 this season.
Solihull Moors draw no bet - 1.900
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