AFC Fylde v Scarborough Athletic (National League North)
Fylde, despite not achieving what they wished by 2022, have had a positive start to the season having only dropped 3 points to Banbury Utd who are currently unbeaten. They’ll be looking for promotion this season after frustratingly finishing 2nd and 3rd in previous seasons but failing to go up. Nick Haughton has had a fantastic start to the season, hitting the back of the net in all three fixtures and will be observed by Scarborough as a dangerous threat in this game. Although what can certainly be expected is for Scarborough to work their way into this game through the flaws of the Fylde defence – who have conceded 5 goals in their opening 3 games.
Three of the five goals Fylde have conceded so far have come from balls being played into the box and this will certainly be something Scarborough will look to exploit. Dominic Tear managed to salvage them a point midweek at home to Bradford Park Avenue in a game that finished 2-2 through two late goals from Scarborough – they’ll be carrying this momentum into their visit to Mill Farm. You can expect Scarborough to play their own way of football in this match and this should result in chances opening up from the early minutes of the game. Fylde have had both teams scoring in their last five fixtures so you can expect Scarborough to find the back of the net at least once at the weekend, especially if they make use of the wings and catch them on the counter. Fylde will be the favourites going into this game and certainly have the higher quality on paper. Despite this, their defensive issues that have been highlighted so far this season allow me to expect both teams to score here.
AFC Telford Utd v King’s Lynn Town (National League North)
Telford fell to a 2-0 defeat away at Kettering midweek in a game where they severely failed to create enough chances. In their three opening games this season they have managed to gain 4 points, although only scoring 2 goals in doing this. The dangers from the current Telford side lie in Devarn Green and Nathan Blissett who have shown their ability in previous seasons – both having experience in higher leagues. Manager Paul Carden will certainly be expecting to bounce back on Saturday, although King’s Lynn may not be the side to face this season when looking to regain momentum.
The Linnets are the only side in the National League North to have a 100% record, taking 9 points from three games. Striker Gold Omotayo has bagged 3 goals in his last two games and is expected to lead the line for King’s Lynn at the weekend. Their previous fixture saw them come back from being 1-0 down at half time – although dominating the whole of the second half. Lynn may also see the return of Kyle Callan-McFadden at the weekend after a prolonged injury spell, although there are doubts he will be back at full fitness. Other than that, the away side have a fully fit squad heading into the game.
The primary reason I’m backing King’s Lynn to win away from home here is their defensive record so far matched with Telford’s flaws in creativity. Town have only conceded one goal in 3 games which proves the strength of their back line – something I doubt Telford will be able to break through, especially when you consider their goalscoring record this season.
Dulwich Hamlet v Slough Town (National League South)
Dulwich have had a strong start to the season, coming away with five points from three games. They’re yet to have a standout goalscorer with every goal coming from a different player so far, the rotation aspect of the home side is seemingly something they’re still exploring meaning it is unclear how Dulwich will set up at the weekend. George Porter and Sanchez Ming missed the midweek game through injury meaning neither are likely to start – Porter being quite a miss for the home side. You can expect to see high tempo football from Dulwich, pressing on every opportunity with Andre Blackman likely to be a dangerous threat going forward as he has been in previous fixtures with strong technical ability and his talent of dribbling his way through defensive lines. This is likely to exploit the Slough defence whether it is through driving it down the middle or playing it through the wings – both creating goals in Hamlet’s last two games against Concord Rangers and Braintree Town.
Alternatively, Slough have only managed to gain one point so far this season albeit playing well in spells. In their 2-0 defeat to Chelmsford midweek, the opposition boss Robbie Simpson admitted that Slough were the far better side during the game although failed to convert their chances. There is a good chance that Slough leave this fixture at the weekend feeling the same, they have tended to play well moving into the final third although fail to break through opposition lines going into the box. They’ve also been defensively poor, conceding 6 goals in their first three games. I expect Dulwich will have too much for Slough at the weekend and gain all three points.
Chelmsford City v Weymouth (National League South)
Chelmsford have started the season with a win and a draw, they’ll be looking to continue this run as they face Weymouth who are yet to have a win in their first three games. Their previous fixture saw them bring home 3 points in a 2-0 win away at Slough, where they set up in a 4-2-3-1 although later switched in the second half to put 5 at the back and ultimately keeping a clean sheet. Manager Robbie Simpson exclaimed his discontent with the performance, despite coming away with three points. In light of this, you can expect improvements towards Chelmsford’s play at the weekend, primarily through their control of possession and pressing of the ball – something that Weymouth will clearly struggle with following their 3-0 loss to Worthing midweek where they created an array of chances but failed to convert any. If Chelmsford can maintain control of the ball, they should have no issue in this fixture. The Clarets suffered no injuries in their two opening fixtures, although they remain without new signing Jamie Yila who is yet to play a game – this should not fully hinder their performance.
Weymouth have had an incredibly disappointing start to the season, coming away with 0 points from their opening three games. As evident in their game at the weekend against top of the league Ebbsfleet, they can certainly create a variety of chances throughout the game. Although, as highlighted against Worthing last Tuesday, they aren’t exactly prolific when taking their chances. The reason I’m backing Chelmsford to come away with three points in this fixture is how well the Clarets defended against Slough and how they hit them on the counter. This should work perfectly at the weekend. The defensive performances Chelmsford have displayed should counteract the creativity of the Weymouth side and it can be expected that they will have too much for Weymouth going forward.
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