As the National League gears up for another set of fixtures, I will look at the four of the best bets for this weekend’s matches.
After four losses on the bounce, Dorking owner and manager Marc White finally managed to grab an important three points on New Years’ Day, after his side beat Oxford City 2-1, thanks to goals from Niall McManus and Sebastian Bowerman.
The win saw Dorking rise to 19th in the league and begin to pull away from the relegation places.
As for Oldham, they also managed to gain three points, with a 2-0 win in their last game against Hartlepool to move into 9th, just one point away from a playoff spot.
Oldham have scored at least two goals in four out of their last six games, and this season there has been over 2.5 goals in 58% of their games, on par with the National League average. Dorking have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last thirteen games, with their games seeing over 2.5 goals in 64% of them.
With both teams coming off a win in their last fixtures, they will be hungry to keep that run going, and with Dorking’s poor defensive record, they will certainly be open at the back, and the Latics will fancy their chances of scoring a few. Both sides have a great relationship off the pitch, despite Oldham winning 5-1 here last campaign.
Tip: Over 3.0 goals
On paper, this game is one of the best in this round of National League fixtures. Both teams sit in the playoffs and will be chasing a win to keep their form going.
Barnet look the most likely team in the league to challenge Chesterfield for the top spot and automatic promotion this season. They sit in third place, with a game in hand of Bromley in second, but ten points off the top spot. Three wins in a row have put them in good stead, and the question for them now is whether or not they can keep the momentum going against a strong Altrincham side.
With just two wins in their last seven, Altrincham have found themselves slipping down the table, and they know that it is important they get some sort of form back against a tough opposition in Barnet.
Barnet’s striker Nicke Kabamba is one of the most prolific in the league, netting 17 times already this season, the second most in the division. He didn’t manage a goal in either of their last two games against Southend, however the rest of the team did the job for him to win both games 1-0 and 2-0.
With Barnet’s hot form and Altrincham’s lack of wins in recent weeks, Barnet will feel they can take home three points on the road to try and keep pace with Chesterfield, and I expect them to do that in this one.
Tip: Barnet to win
Two of the league’s strugglers go head-to-head on Saturday, and neither side will be happy with how things have been going in recent months. In both teams last 18 games combined, they have both won just one game each, and as a result, the Hoops have found themselves in the relegation places in 20th, with Hartlepool just four points away in 18th.
The main weakness in both sides have been their defence, both have conceded 52 goals already this season, the second worst in the league. Hartlepool average over 2.5 goals in 69% of their games, and Oxford 70%, both way over the leagues average of 57%.
Both sides have attacked have been a saving grace, with Oxford City scoring 39 goals, and the visitors scoring 41.
Tip: BTTS and Over 2.5 goals
Before their last played game, Maidenhead were in great form, unbeaten in their last eight and looking more than likely to escape any kind of relegation battle. However, a poor result against Wealdstone which saw two goals against them in the opening 20 minutes handed them a loss.
As for Bromley, they have won five out of their last six, with a cruel last minute Altrincham equaliser a blight on the record. The recent run of form has seen Bromley shoot up the table into second, now sitting just seven points off the top, albeit having played two more games than leaders Chesterfield.
Bromley have the second-best goal difference in the league, mainly thanks to conceding just 29 goals this season, the third fewest in the division. Maidenhead have also been solid at the back, but for them the trouble has been scoring goals, as they average just over a goal per match, which is up there with the lowest in the league.
Despite being away from home, Bromley are expected to win this game, and I believe that they will comfortably come away with all three points.
Tip: Bromley win
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