Dagenham & Redbridge v Maidstone United
Boxing Day is a great time for football and it’s often a day that brings goals. I’m backing Dagenham and Redbridge and Maidstone United to follow tradition.
There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the numbers. Both clubs have kept clean sheets in just six of their combined 44 matches. The Daggers have seen seven of their last ten matches feature three or more goals and their home record against bottom half teams reads five matches, 18 goals total with four of those containing three or more goals. Maidstone United, meanwhile, have seen three or more goals scored in each of their last four matches, both teams scoring in each of those matches and one team scoring at least three goals in each.
There is also a tactical match-up here that lends itself to goals. Both sides have pacy forwards, attack-minded midfielders that are sloppy defensively and defenders that lack speed and concentration. With the game being a bold 3-5-2 v a standard 4-3-3 game, both sides will be set up against each other man-for-man across the pitch so any time a technically gifted midfielder or pacy attacker gets the better of their man, chaos will descend across the pitch.
Neither side is strong defensively and there are a number of talented footballers set to be on the pitch, including the returning Paul McCallum.
Dorking Wanderers v Eastleigh
Yet again, this betting column is predicting Dorking Wanderers to be involved in a game with three or more goals having been scored.
The Wanderers have returned to normal style recently, trying to play on the front foot and dominate games, evidenced by their last three games involved three or more goals. They were involved in a 0-0 against Yeovil Town in the FA Trophy at the weekend but Marc White openly acknowledged that issues he had picking a side due to a virus and kept things simple with a number of youngsters involved. He is expecting a number of big hitters to return for this one, including James McShane, Ryan Seager, Seb Bowerman and Harry Ottaway. Only two of their home matches have not finished with over 2.5 goals having been scored, and they came against York City (injuries forcing them to play a deep block) and Yeovil Town, whose games averaging 1.73 goals total.
Eastleigh’s preference is to be hard to beat and make the most of their breaks but what works for them at home doesn’t work for them away from home – they have conceded almost double the amount of goals on the road as they have at home. Seven of their 11 matches on the road have finished with over 2.5 goals having been scored and their approach of being hard to beat and countering may suit them in a game against a Dorking Wanderers side that will leave gaps in their bid for total domination. They have Tristan Abrahams, Danny Whitehall, Ryan Hill and Charlie Carter fully fit now too.
Scunthorpe United v Chesterfield
A case of expecting a routine victory for title contenders against the divisions worst football team.
Scunthorpe United are in a state of disarray. They finally ended their six match losing run last time out but that came in a 0-0 draw against a Yeovil Town side that was struck down by illness and could only name two subs. They have picked up just one point from 12 matches against sides in the top 13, have conceded two or more in ten of those matches and failed to score in six of ten against the top 11. The weakness of their squad has seen interim boss Michael Nelson’s only changes come in the form of youngsters stepping into the side ahead of more experienced players and though it worked against Yeovil Town, this will be a much tougher assignment.
Chesterfield are one of the best sides in the division and their third place position only looks worse due to a bizarre week in October in which they lost three consecutive matches. Remove that, and their points-per-game total rivals the top two. They are consistent in their goalscoring numbers, scoring two or more goals in 16 of their 21 matches, have scored two or more in the five matches they have played against the bottom six sides and scored two or more in five of their last six. Any concerns about their FA Trophy defeat should be countered by only two of the starting XI from their last league match being involved in the entire squad – they had four debutants from the youth team in the starting XI.
Southend United v Bromley
I’m backing Essex to see off South London in a clash between two play-off hopefuls on Boxing Day.
Southend United have been one of the best sides in the division this year both in terms of results and performance metrics and, after a little wobble in the league, they backed that up by beating Boreham Wood 2-0 in midweek, “popping” their visitors off the park according to Wood manager Luke Garrard. A huge bonus in that game was seeing Harry Cardwell return, one of a number of forwards that have missed periods of the season but give them so much as a physical outlet when they do play. He got through the game without any issues and it gives the side a real boost – they hit their best run of form this season during a spell where either he or Jake Hyde were fit.
Bromley are currently in a rut and their FA Trophy defeat at Bath City didn’t help matters – they were 2-0 up only to draw 2-2 and lose on penalties. Andy Woodman was unhappy afterwards, refusing to stick up for his players and questioning why they were conceding so many goals lately when they spend so much time on the training ground making sure the side are organised. They have won one of their last nine in the league, lost five of their ten away matches and lost three of their five matches against the top seven sides, drawing the other two. The Ravens are not in a good place at the moment and they won’t get it easy against one of the best performing sides in the division.
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Written by an Andy verified content writer
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