This week's live TNT game comes from Victoria Park as Hartlepool host AFC Fylde in the National League. A goal gluttonous game is expected, so read my preview and predictions below.
After a disappointing relegation from League 2, Hartlepool started this season in a similar vein, losing 3-2 at Barnet on the opening day of the season. However, back-to-back home wins against Gateshead (2-1) and Maidenhead (3-1) and a 3-2 win at Southend have restored the feel-good factor in Teesside. The Hartlepool hierarchy has kept faith in John Askey, and this has seemed to pay off thus far.
AFC Fylde won the National League North with an impressive 95 points. After being appointed in November 2022, Adam Murray boasts a 60.5 win percentage in charge of the Coasters. Like Hartlepool, Fyldes games have been chaotic, with all four games seeing over 2.5 goals.
An opening-day fightback saw them draw 2-2 at Maidenhead. A 2-1 home win against Kidderminster was sandwiched in between a 4-2 loss to Chesterfield and a 3-2 loss to Wealdstone.
Hartlepool endured a torrid season, getting relegated from League 2. A defeat to Crawley in the penultimate home game all but confirmed their relegation back to the National League. John Askey took over from Pete Hartley mid-season but was unable to steer the Monkey Hangers to safety.
Hartlepool had the unfortunate record of having the worst defensive record in the league, conceding 78 goals. Games involving Askey’s side averaged 2.8 goals per game, with Hartlepool showcasing their ability going forward by scoring 52 goals.
AFC Fylde topped the National League North with 95 points, pipping Kings Lynn by two points. Murray’s side were the second-top scorers in the league with 80 goals. They had the fourth-best defensive record too, only conceding 44 goals. However, their games averaged 2.69 goals.
Powerful striker Josh Umerah scored 12 goals last season and will be a key asset for Hartlepool this year. The 25-year-old scored in the opening game but received a red card against Gateshead, so he is still suspended for this game.
Anthony Mancini is a classy operator in midfield. The 22-year-old ran the show against Southend, leading him to get applauded off the pitch by the opposition fans, as was the case with Maidenhead fans.
The Italian was surprisingly released by Accrington last season, and John Coleman will certainly be kicking himself now. Mancini will be a football league player in the near future, with or without Hartlepool.
Nick Haughton is an AFC Fylde legend and showcased his tremendous technical ability by scoring from 40 yards in last week's defeat. His two goals already this season have added to his back-to-back 26 goal seasons. Nearing his 30s, Haughton may think about testing himself in the EFL.
As mentioned, both teams possess goals in abundance, and their games so far this season have been chaotic. Over 2.5 goals have landed in 4/4 games for both sides. Bet 365 has set the 2.5–3.0 line at 1.925. This means if the game ends on three goals, you get half a winner; if it ends on more than three, you get a full winner.
Over 2.5, 3.0 goal line: 1.925 Bet365
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