Eastleigh v Maidstone United
I’m backing Eastleigh to continue their fine home record when Maidstone United come to visit on Tuesday evening.
Hakan Hayrettin’s outfit picked up a credible point at home against Solihull Moors last time out, finally keeping a clean sheet. However, it was at home and against a top side that had rested half of their first XI in preparation for a big FA Cup tie. The Stones have otherwise been toothless in attack, where both James Alabi and Jack Barham were dropped last time out, and only Barnet have conceded more than Maidstone’s 37. They have also picked up four points from a possible 24 away from home, losing each of their last five and failing to win a game in general since late August.
That run is unlikely to end at Silverlake where Eastleigh have won six and drawn two, winning each of their last four and conceding just four goals. Lee Bradbury has had to contend with an FA Cup tie this weekend, one that they lost 3-1 against Boreham Wood, but he has a full complement of players to choose from currently and has not seen a notable downturn in results or performances despite making a couple of changes here and there. The core has largely remained the same and they have proven they can compete physically.
Yeovil Town v Maidenhead United
A struggling Yeovil Town side host a defiant Maidenhead United outfit in midweek and it’s hard to imagine it being a classic.
Mark Cooper has been installed as manager at Yeovil Town but has unsurprisingly not been able to wield an immediate turnaround in results having taken on a limited outfit low on confidence. His approach has been to go back to basics, reverting to three-at-the-back and playing a more direct style into striker Alex Fisher. There hasn’t been a single game this season where Yeovil have scored or conceded more than two goals and less than three goals have been scored in 12 of their last 13 in the league.
Are Maidenhead United likely to break that? Probably not. For starters, this will be their sixth game in two and a half weeks with another to prepare for on Saturday so tiredness is setting in. Then you consider their record this season. There have been less than three goals in four of their last five matches and 12 of their last 15. They have not conceded more than two goals in a game since opening day and have only scored more than twice in a game twice – against a struggling Scunthorpe United and Torquay United.
Both sides sit in the bottom three for total goals in matches this season. This should be a snore fest.
Scunthorpe United v Wrexham
In 2008, both of these clubs were relegated. Wrexham were relegated from League Two and Scunthorpe United from the Championship. Scunthorpe were promoted back to the second tier a year later and yet 13 years on, they come into a National League fixture at home against Wrexham overwhelming underdogs.
It’s been a difficult start to life in the fifth tier, the cash-strapped Lincolnshire outfit just about keeping their heads above water under long-term interim manager Tony Daws. They have only lost two of their last ten matches, however, they have only won two. And both defeats have come against the only two sides they have played against the current top nine, meaning they have now lost all six matches played against top nine sides. Their performances are getting worse too, The Iron conceding an average of 1xG more per game than they are creating. They have conceded 33 goals in 17 matches, almost two per game.
They come up against a Wrexham side that are performing exactly as expected, earning comfortably over two points-per-game as they look to overtake Notts County at the top of the table. Their record against sides not currently in the top seven reads 11 wins and one draw and all three of their victories on the road this term have seen them score two or more goals, unsurprising for an outfit that have scored a ridiculous 47 goals in 17 matches so far this term. Ollie Palmer and Paul Mullin are both in double figures and even if The Iron manage to halt them, centre-back Aaron Hayden is now on eight for the season.
Torquay United v Dorking Wanderers
I didn’t think a couple of weeks ago that I’d be selecting Torquay United to be involved in a game with goals but there has been a clear upturn amid necessary first-team changes and a game against Dorking Wanderers represents more opportunity for a goal fest.
Gary Johnson has not only added Mark Ellis and Lucas Ness to his backline but, crucially, Dillon De Silva and Stephen Wearne, the duo providing much needed pace and quality at wing-back to give them a stronger attacking edge. It means that a side who have started strongly in most games this season before fading away have been able to find the net while on top and create more exciting matches, particularly at home where their last three matches have finished 2-3, 4-4 and 6-1. Torquay have now scored in each of their last six home matches and in six of eight matches against current bottom half sides, including each of their last five.
Goals are a language that Marc White’s Dorking Wanderers know all too well. They are kings of the over 2.5 in the National League, seeing 14 of their last 16 league matches end with three or more goals being scored while only Barnet have seen more goals scored in their matches than Dorking’s 67. They have kept just one clean sheet this season and failed to score in just three matches. Their four away matches against sides below them have finish 1-4, 2-3, 2-3 and 4-2.
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