Dagenham and Redbridge v Torquay United
I’m backing Dagenham and Redbridge to continue their excellent home form this weekend when they take on basement outfit Torquay United.
The Daggers come into this game having won each of the three matches played prior to their FA Cup tie with League Two Gillingham, which they drew, scoring nine goals in the process. Selection consistency has been key to that, able to field largely the same players in the centre of the pitch which has given McMahon’s preferred 3-5-2 shape more structure and quality. Their home form has been excellent since an opening day draw with Gateshead, winning six, drawing two (against Boreham Wood and Southend United) and losing against title contenders Notts County in the middle of an injury crisis.
They face a Torquay United side that have won one of their last 14 matches and cannot find consistent form. Their away form in particular has been a problem, losing each of their last five and conceding 13 in the process. Ten of those came against Notts County and Wrexham, two of just four sides with a better home record than Saturday’s opposition. Only Wrexham have scored more home goals than the Daggers. Torquay’s away record is grim too – they have lost nine, drawn one and won one, and that win was against a Southend side that had 34 shots on their goal. They’ve also lost defender Lucas Ness after he was recalled, weakening them further.
Maidenhead United v Dorking Wanderers
A match-up between two of the three remaining part-time sides in the National League this weekend.
Both sides are having decent seasons, currently placed 13th and 14th in the league table. Saturday’s hosts have often relied on their home form and that has continued somewhat this term, winning five and drawing three of their ten home matches. They have also scored in seven of those matches, standing them in good stead against the leakiest defence in the division. They have seen both teams score in each of their last three matches and in seven of their last 11. Against sides below them in the table, six of their ten matches have finished BTTS – Yes. Remy Clerima, a right-back often used on the right-wing, had to cover at centre-back last time out and he finished the game partnered by loanee Idris Odutayo (second appearance of the season) after captain Alan Massey was forced off.
Dorking Wanderers are often the choice for an over 2.5 goals pick but Marc White has changed tact slightly, using recent games to get minutes into legs amid injury issues and playing an experienced side in the 1-0 win over a poor York City outfit. They endured some difficulties from set-pieces in that game, something Maidenhead United will look to exploit. Seb Bowerman could return for this one while attacking midfielder James McShane is fully fit again – only Paul Mullin and Macaulay Langstaff have outscored him this season. Two-thirds of their games have finished BTTS away from home, as have 11 of their 13 games against sides outside of the current top seven.
Scunthorpe United v Notts County
A case of a good team beating a poor team.
Notts County currently sit second in the league table but have arguably been the best side in the division this term, their xG numbers and general quality of their football evidencing that. They’ve only been denied more than one goal scored on three occasions this season against sides currently outside of the top eight – against Yeovil Town, Dorking Wanderers and Gateshead in games they accrued 1.81 xG or higher. They drew three of their four games before a two-week break in action but should be recharged to go again. They have won the xG battle in 16 of their 20 league matches and scored in every match away from home.
It’s been a strange week for Scunthorpe United. They were beaten last week by Wealdstone having seen star striker Joe Nuttall sent off. Academy Manager Tony Daws has stepped away from being interim manager with Michael Nelson taking over. And the players weren’t paid this month amid a takeover that looks set to be announced in the coming days. The Iron have lost their last five league matches and scored three goals, conceding at least two goals in each of those matches. Their record against sides in the top 13 reads one draw and ten defeats. Daws has had issues making changes to his XI due to a lack of depth and that won’t change for Nelson either.
Woking v Maidstone United
I’m anticipating this being a game too far Maidstone United as they visit high-flying Woking.
Starting with the hosts and they come into this game having had two weeks to rest and recover meaning a number of players whose minutes were being managed should be fit and available again, including winger Kyran Lofthouse, top scorer Reece Grego-Cox and forward Rhys Browne. Their home record reads two defeats (against Notts County and Wrexham), two draws and six victories and they have kept six clean sheets in those matches with only Dorking scoring more than once at The Laithwaite Community Stadium.
Their visitors at the weekend have been improved of late but they haven’t faced a challenge like an away trip to Woking. They’ve beaten Scunthorpe United (away) and Maidenhead United (home) while picking up home draws against Yeovil Town (last minute equaliser conceded), Solihull Moors (who played a weakened XI before a big cup tie) and Oldham Athletic (against whom they mustered four shots). They are averaging minus 0.6xG per game over the last five matches and their record against top half sides reads two points from a possible 30. They have not picked up a point away from home against the same opposition.
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