Altrincham v Dorking Wanderers
A really exciting match-up between two of the smaller clubs in the National League this weekend.
It took Altrincham ten games to finally win a football match and they did so in scrappy circumstances. An expected loss at Notts County followed but they now face an important run of fixtures and got off on the right foot, beating Gateshead 3-1 away from home. Parkinson took the brave decision to move back to 4-2-3-1 for the game having moved to 3-4-1-2 previously and it paid off with a first three-goal haul of the season. Notably, Marcus Dinanga, a confidence striker, has two in two and appears to be finding his feet having been given a run of games up front. He might be needed – Altrincham have played six matches against sides in the top 15 and conceded 15 goals. Six of Altrincham’s last seven matches have finished with three or mor goals scored.
Selecting Dorking Wanderers to be involved in a match with three goals or more is a regular feature of this betting column but with good reason. There have been three or more goals in all but two of their league matches this season. They have had at least ten shots on goal in all but three matches and conceded at least ten shots in all but two matches. They have scored in all but two matches and conceded in all but one. They have the second worst xGA in the division and are in the top half for xGF. They also come into this game still somewhat makeshift defensively with no natural centre-back (albeit, Dan Gallagher has filled in plenty now).
Altrincham like to entertain at home while Dorking impose their game wherever they play. I’m expecting a fun game of football.
Maidenhead United v Oldham Athletic
Maidenhead United are coupon busters and they proved that yet again last week with a 2-1 victory at unbeaten league leaders Chesterfield having previously not scored a goal away from home in four attempts. I fancy them to bloody more noses this weekend.
It’s Oldham Athletic. Recently relegated into non-league for the first time. The club with Premier League pedigree. The club that have just employed David Unsworth as manager, famed for his time in the top flight. Their new owner asked after taking over where Dorking was, which, however jovial, smacked of naivety. This is the type of game Maidenhead United live for. Welcoming the big boys to their York Road stadium and putting it on them.
This selection would go to form. Maidenhead United currently sit above Oldham Athletic in the National League table. The Magpies have won three of their five home matches and been the better side in every game, unfortunate to lose 1-0 against York City and draw with FC Halifax Town. They have already beaten Scunthorpe United and play-off chasing Woking. Also, the brilliant Sam Barratt returned in midweek. Unsworth, meanwhile, has had a tough start to life with a patched up XI that has picked up one point from three games and conceded eight goals in the process. The Latics have been abysmal on the road all season, picking up two points and if you remove the opening day draw against Torquay United, comfortably the worst side in the division right now, they are averaging -0.77xGD on the road.
Maidstone United v FC Halifax Town
I’m backing the side coming into this game on the back of a defeat to beat the side coming into this game having earned a much-needed victory.
FC Halifax Town have not been a good football team this season. Chris Millington has already found himself under pressure amid poor results and he is still yet to work out his best XI, evidenced by him making four changes in midweek and changing shape again. They conceded five away at Aldershot Town recently and were hit for four by Woking. They did produce a fine display against York City on Tuesday but getting up for a derby match in front of a home crowd baying for blood is slightly different to an ordinary away match in London against a side that are comfortable at home.
It’s been a hit and miss start to life in the National League for Hakan Hayrettin’s Maidstone United. While his side have performed adequately in attack without star man Joan Luque, they have been imbalanced defensively, conceding 29 goals in 12 matches. However, much of the damage has been done away from home. On their 3G pitch at the Gallagher Stadium, they have performed well, picking up seven points from three matches and averaging 0.7xGD per game despite playing four of the current top ten. They are likely to return to their preferred 4-3-3 formation this weekend with Roarie Deacon returning from suspension and they will fancy their chances against one of the poorest sides in the division.
Wrexham v Barnet
Here’s Wrexham AFC’s results in front of their home supporters this season: 2-1; 5-0; 3-1; 4-1 and 5-0. They’re going to take some stopping.
Phil Parkinson’s side are clearly having some issues on the road where games are often tighter, but they play with an attacking freedom at home, where they are averaging 2.39xG for. The strength of their squad is fantastic too with Elliot Lee chomping at the bit for a start having made a positive impact off the bench in a number of matches – he may get his chance with Jordan Davies being taken off at the weekend.
Barnet are actually the highest placed team they will have played at the Racecourse but a positive start to the season has done the heavy lifting there. Victory over Maidstone United in midweek was their first victory in six. They have not kept a clean sheet in eight, conceded at least three goals on five occasions during that time and 13 in their last three matches. They have conceded at least 1.6xG in each of their last 11 matches. It doesn’t help that their defence remains imbalanced, the ageing Jerome Okimo and Moussa Diarra making up the left side while Brennan is searching for a forward line that can press as a unit and track runners. There have been at least three goals in eight of their 12 league matches including six of their last eight.
There will be a side that slows Wrexham down at the Racecourse. It’s hard to imagine that side being Barnet.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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