Eastbourne Borough vs Dulwich Hamlet (National League South)
Eastbourne put in a poor performance last weekend with a 2-0 loss away at Hungerford to add to their underwhelming start to the season and leaving them on only 3 points after 4 games. There’s a strong belief among fans that this result is a consequence of the chaotic start to the season they have had, accumulating a combined 16 goals in their first three games. Eastboune started the season well with a 3-1 win away at Oxford, although followed this up with a 4-3 loss to Bath and a 3-2 loss to Ebbsfleet. Despite not getting the points, they’ve certainly learnt where the back of the net is and you can expect the home side to show this come Saturday. Not just that, Eastbourne have a variety of players who have found the net this season – scoring 8 goals this season with only 2 of them coming from the same player (albeit one other being an own goal.) They should be finding the back of the net on Saturday against Dulwich, especially with them so desperate to get some more points on the board.
Whilst Dulwich may not have seen the extreme amount of goals that Eastbourne have this season, they have conveniently seen both teams score in every fixture so far. Their main issue seems to be that they fail to keep a lead once going 1-0 ahead which they have done on 75% of occasions this season. Similarly to Eastbourne, Dulwich have had a different goal scorer every time this season – possibly emphasising their variety of attacking options. Jayden Clarke will certainly be expected to start this fixture after a strong performance against Slough last week where he got himself on the scoresheet to go alongside the 2 assists he already had from their first three games. The average goals between these two teams this season sits at 3.38, Dulwich haven’t had a game where both teams haven’t scored yet and Eastbourne have had a combined 18 goals in their first four games – both teams to score sits as a very strong likelihood for this fixture.
Farnborough FC vs Bath City (National League South)
Bath impressively came back from being 1-0 down against Braintree at the weekend to win 3-1 via Alex Fletcher and a Cody Cooke brace. They now sit 5th in the table which is 14 spots above Farnborough who currently occupy the 19th position with only one win. Following the Braintree game, Bath manager Jerry Gill emphasised the importance of the two goal scorers so you can expect to see them both on the team sheet again come the weekend. Bath have seen goals in every match so far, the opening day of the season being the only game that has not seen both teams getting on the scoresheet. In their first four games, there’s been a combined 15 goals so far which averages at nearly four goals per game.
Farnborough have also had a goal heavy start to the season, with an average of 2.5 goals per game and 6 of them coming last weekend after a 4-2 loss to the league leaders Ebbsfleet
United. Farnborough have seen a complete range of goal scorers so far although it could be argued that they’re missing an out and out prolific striker. They’ve certainly haven’t had the best start to the season with only one win so far, but their recent results have shown some competitiveness.
Over 2.5 goals seems a safe bet here, it’ll be an anomalous result if it does not come in with the average goals between both teams this season sitting at 4.67 per game. Whilst this may be incredibly far-fetched, it may also be worth mentioning that these two teams last faced each other in 2015 – one game finished 7-4 and the reverse fixture 7-2.
Welling United vs Chelmsford (National League South)
Both teams in this fixture have had strong starts to the season, Welling sitting in 7th and Chelmsford in 4th with a game in hand. Welling started their campaign with a bore draw, although the slow tempo came to a quick end as they saw 14 goals in their next three games. Experienced striker Stefan Payne got himself a brace last weekend so you can expect him to be in the team sheet bursting with momentum. Adebayo Azeez will most likely partner him, who has also found the back of the net twice so far. The home side also had a run out against Erith & Belvedere midweek in a friendly that they won 1-0, Aaron Barnes putting in a strong defensive performance despite not being a consistent starter. Welling have had no issue finding the back of the net this season, although their defensive issues need to be resolved if they want to properly contend – Chelmsford will be a struggle in this sense.
The away side are unbeaten so far this season although Welling will be their biggest test so far. They drew 0-0 away to Chippenham midweek although will be frustrated with this performance after creating an array of strong chances. They’ve been setting up in a 4-2-3-1 this season although after that midweek performance, there is a chance that manager Robbie Simpson will convert to a more aggressive formation. Despite this, Welling are a tough side to face away from home and it may also be likely that he will allow his players to stick to what they’ve trained week in week out. Chelmsford have had both teams scoring in 7 of their last 9 fixtures, so the 0-0 gives me no worry. Especially considering the amount of goals Welling have seen in their last few games.
Slough Town vs Cheshunt (National League South)
Slough overcame the odds last weekend, coming back from 1-0 down to beat Dulwich Hamlet 2-1. This game was their first win of the season, leading to defender George Wells finding a spot in the team of the week. Ben Harris is expected to start after getting his 2nd goal of the season last week and will be seen as a dangerous threat towards Cheshunt. This will provide a huge momentum boost for Slough and should get them a big crowd in at the weekend. An issue for the Rebels so far, as acknowledged by Neil Baker, has been scoring the goals. This game is the perfect opportunity for them to get off the ground running with Cheshunt getting off to an equally awful start.
Cheshunt started the season with a win against Hampton and Richmond, things have only gone downhill from there. They now have to come away to Slough, where they have just won their first game of the season and will be looking to ride the momentum. Cheshunt have been in some intense battles so far this season. You can expect Craig Edwards’ men to play aggressively, although this will also allow space to open up for Slough to attack. The away side will be without Preston Edwards after he saw a straight red for bringing down a player as the last man. The odds are seemingly not in Cheshunt’s favour and this doesn’t seem to be the place where they can start picking up points, the red card alongside Slough’s current momentum should lead them to a strong victory.
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