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National League Best Bets - Saturday 30th December 2023

Publish Date: 29/12/2023
Fact checked by: James Leeland

The busy festive period continues in the Non-League scene, and there are four National League games to delve into this Saturday.

Barnet vs Southend

Dean Brennan’s Barnet side came out 2-0 victors at Roots Hall on Boxing Day, building on an impressive 6-0 mauling of local rivals Boreham Wood, just three days previous. The magnificent Nicke Kabamba netted a hat-trick in the latter game, with Reece Hall-Johnson and Harry Pritchard netting in both, giving the Bees a real sting with their attacking output. They sit in third going into this game, but could jump to second if Bromley were to lose to Ebbsfleet.

Meanwhile for Southend, a depleted squad continues to haunt Kevin Maher’s side, however, the imposed transfer embargo on the Shrimper’s has now been lifted, which will spark some excitement into their supporters. Without their points deduction, Southend would be just a point outside of the play offs, but find themselves in 15th and only four points above the drop zone. Maher’s men are one of just three teams to have beaten league leaders Chesterfield this season, but with squad issues and just a handful of players on the bench at the moment, a victory at the Hive may prove tricky.

With Barnet flexing their muscles away from home between these two sides on Boxing Day, we can see them winning again comfortably on Saturday.

Barnet to win and over 2.5 goals

Bromley vs Ebbsfleet

Andy Woodman’s Bromley side continue to impress in the National League this season, dispatching the Fleet, 3-2, away from home on Boxing Day. That win made it six unbeaten for the Ravens, winning five of those and applying some Yuletide pressure on top side Chesterfield. Talisman Michael Cheek has been firing on all cylinders yet again, finding the back of the net twelve times already in the league and found himself among the goals on Tuesday as well.

Meanwhile for Ebbsfleet, despite their high profile signings of Jordon Ibe and Myles Kenlock, Dennis Kutrieb’s side have found the upper echelon of non-league tough. Since arriving back at step one following last season’s promotion, the Fleet sit in 22nd and have hardly pulled up any trees. Despite the pedigree of some of their squad, the likes of Joshua Wright, Ousseynou Cisse and Luke O’Neill, the side from the Kufflink are yet to prove why they are capable of staying in the division. One glimmer of hope however, is Dominic Poleon. The former Leeds striker has also notched twelve league goals, but in just nineteen games and scored both of Ebbsfleet’s goals in the Boxing Day fixture between the two teams.

With Bromley’s ability to win football matches and their form at Hayes Lane, we predict it will be business as usual for Woodman’s men.

Bromley win and over 2.5 goals

Kidderminster vs Boreham Wood

Hardly a Boxing Day classic between these two sides, despite the Harriers’ Ashley Hemmings scoring a late penalty to level the game and draw 1-1.

Kidderminster come into this game deep inside the relegation zone and five points from safety, but have shown signs of resilience and improvement of late. Russell Penn’s men have won just four out of their 26 league games, but will be buoyed by their Boxing Day result down on the outskirts of London.

Boreham Wood travel to Aggborough with three points in mind, however, Luke Garrard will know that it won’t be what usually would be business as usual for his side. So far this campaign, it has been anything but for the Meadow Park team. They sit in 17th, just four points off the drop and acres away from the play off spots they’ve become accustomed to in their National League life. A demoralising 6-0 defeat to Barnet and an underperforming squad is starting to threaten Boreham Wood’s National League status, but with Garrard’s experience and the underlying quality of his squad, the Wood will hope to find their way out of this hole sometime soon.

Having said that, with Kidderminster fighting for their lives, this could go either way, but a Kiddy longshot and both teams to score has a lot of potential.

Kidderminster win and BTTS

Oldham vs Hartlepool

Oldham’s festive north east trip returned three points as they travelled up to Hartlepool and dispatched them 3-1.

The Latics haven’t adapted brilliantly to life in the National League since their relegation at the end of the 21/22 season, becoming the first and only team to have been in the premier league and be relegated to non-league. However, things are looking up for the Greater Manchester team, especially since Micky Mellon’s arrival. David Unsworth was sacked after a slow start to the season, but the steely nature and reputation of Mellon has seen fortunes change slightly on the pitch, with Oldham in 10th. However, their home form has gone wanting, losing to Gateshead, Ebbsfleet and just sneaking past Mickleover in the FA Trophy on penalties after a 3-3 draw. Controversy seems to stick to Athletic as well, but, as long as you don’t ask anyone to train on Christmas Day… oh, yeah. The goals could flow for Oldham however, with the clinical James Norwood in the Latics’ ranks having already found the back of the net fourteen times this term. A man with real goal scoring pedigree at a number of levels and someone Oldham will look too for goals for the rest of this season.

As for the Poolies, they too have struggled following their return to the National League this summer after dropping out of League Two. They languish currently in 16th and are without a league win since a trip to York in November. John Askey is at the helm of the Hartlepool ship, having been appointed at the back end of last season and despite a valiant effort (from Dan Kemp mainly) they still met their fate. This term, it’s not been plain sailing at all and even with a relatively strong start, form has faded for the north east outfit.

Two teams with in different form, this one could go either way, but you can almost guarantee, there will be some goals.

Over 2.5 goals

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