Eastleigh v Torquay United
I confess that Eastleigh have somewhat surprised me this season and I’m backing them for victory in midweek.
The Spitfires currently sit in mid-table having won five and lost five of their 14 league matches this season. While their form on the road remains an issue, they have been strong in front of their own fans, winning four and drawing two at the Silverlake Stadium, those two draws seeing them score in the 93rd minute against Dagenham and Redbridge and dominate Yeovil Town without being able to find the killer blow. Goals have been the issue for them this term (they are yet to score more than two in a match) but they have conceded just four goals on home turf and have been able to call upon Tristan Abrahams, Ryan Hill and Danny Whitehall more regularly after early season knocks.
The reason I’m confident they will win in midweek is because they are playing basement outfit Torquay United. The Gulls have been the worst side in the division this season and that is definitely the case away from home where they have seven points from six games but have accrued an average of 7.3 shots per game and conceded 22.9. They unsurprisingly have the worst xG and worst xGA on the road and also come into this scraping the barrel in terms of availability – they had just 15 players available in their crazy 4-4 draw with Altrincham the other night, two of whom weren’t capable of playing 90 minutes due to ongoing injury complaints.
Wealdstone v Notts County
I’m backing Notts County to make it six in a row in midweek when they travel south to Wealdstone.
After a bright start to the season, Wealdstone come into the game having won just one of their last nine matches – and that was away at an Aldershot Town side who recently sacked their manager. They are having some issues defensively, where Jack Cook and Deji Elewere have both missed matches, and have also lost Rhys Browne, who has scored seven of their 15 league goals this term – unhelpful for a side with the third lowest xG performance both overall and away from home. Notably, the Stones have scored more than once in a match just once in their last 11 fixtures and have had more than ten shots on just three occasions – against FC Halifax Town, Aldershot Town and Torquay United.
That is an issue given they are coming up against a Notts County side with the most ruthless front pairing in the division – Macaulay Langstaff and Cedwyn Scott now have 24 league goals to their names combined and only Wrexham have scored more than Notts overall. They have scored in every league match this season and have won four of their last five on the road, showing the kind of mettle and consistency that cost them last term. Their starting XI is settled and it’s also worth noting that they have had an extra day’s rest, which should count for a lot with their midweek opposition being part-time.
Woking v Dorking Wanderers
Woking are backing up those that predicted good things for them this term and they will fancy their chances of winning back-to-back matches for the third time this season.
They have played six games at home so far, winning four and losing two. Those two losses came against Wrexham and Notts County, the current top two. The Cards have scored at least two goals in every home match and have also recorded at least 1.2xG in every home match. In fact, not since the defeat against Wrexham, which came with the Cards spending most of the game with ten men, have they lost the xG in a single match, showing the consistency of their performances.
The tactical side to this should give Woking hope too. They are one of the best sides in the division at squeezing the pitch, winning the press high up and moving forward with real physicality. So, playing against Dorking, whose goalkeeper plays, on average, the second shortest passes in the top five leagues, and who refuse to change their style regardless of opposition or venue, should suit them.
Dorking have won four of their last seven but have lost four of their six away matches, including each of their last two in which they have conceded seven goals – and they were against Scunthorpe United and Altrincham.
Wrexham v FC Halifax Town
A case of one of the best sides in the division being predicted to comfortably beat one of its poorest sides.
In fairness to Chris Millington, he has quietened the dissenting voices of last with seven points from three matches and generally improved displays, horror shows against Aldershot Town and Woking aside. They have largely played a more settled system, if not personnel, and have recorded three wins from four at home. Their biggest issue is away from the Shay. They have picked up five points from seven on the road, those coming against fellow strugglers Scunthorpe United and Maidstone United as well as an undeserved point at Maidenhead United.
The worry for Halifax is that they have had a relatively kind fixture list to date, only playing two of the current top seven – and they conceded four in both of those matches. You can already hear Wrexham’s forwards and management rubbing their hands together. Paul Mullin and Ollie Palmer now have 20 goals for the season. Phil Parkinson’s side have won all six matches at home this season and scored 27 in the process, including 5-0, 6-0 and 7-2 victories. Unsurprisingly, their xG is the best in the division.
It’s hard to see Halifax denying them and they could be on the end of a beating here.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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