Altrincham v Barnet
It’s that time of year where we see a lot of games with no meaning to them in the National League. This is one of them.
Barnet come into this game as one of probably the most chaotic sides in the division – there have been 38 goals in their last eight matches, scoring 13 and conceding 25. They haven’t lost any of the three matches played against sides in the bottom half of the table in that time but they have conceded at least two goals in their last seven. Both teams have scored in their last four matches and six of their last eight. They have scored in seven of nine away matches against bottom half sides and Adam Marriott has scored four in his last three – he has scored once every 156 minutes this season. They do have defensive issues, however, with Jamie Turley, Reiss Greenidge, Sam Beard and Jordan Thomas all missing on Saturday.
Altrincham are a little less chaotic and in good form having won eight of their last 13 matches to remove any minor relegation concerns. Alty have now won ten of their 20 home matches, including six of their last eight. It’s plausible that that run continues on Saturday given they have won all seven home matches against sides in the bottom eight, but they are also part-time and the two-day turnaround is likely to be tougher on the legs. They have scored in each of their last ten home matches and conceded in their last two. They have conceded in four of their eight home matches against sides below them in the table.
Notts County v Dover Athletic
This is the second meeting between Notts County and Dover Athletic in a week, the kind of thing usually reserved for Christmas rather than Easter. Notts County won that fixture 3-0 and I’m expecting another high scoring game on Bank Holiday Monday.
Firstly, Dover Athletic. Their recent away results reads 3-2, 1-2, 6-5, 2-1 and 6-0. They have seen over 2.5 goals scored in all but five away matches this season. They have conceded two or more in all but five away matches and scored in all but six. They have conceded two or more goals in 11 of 15 matches against sides in the top eight and conceded two or more in nine of their last 14 matches, including three of their last four. The challenge for Notts County will be showing the kind of ruthless streak that saw them score three times in midweek. The Magpies have scored three and four in their last two home matches. They have scored in each of their last nine at home and scored two or more in every home match against sides 17th or lower in the league table – three or more in all but one of those. They should also be back to full-strength with Harry Arter, Jayden Richardson, Kyle Wootton and Elisha Sam expected to return to the starting XI.
Solihull Moors v Bromley
With Bromley, Dagenham and Redbridge and Boreham Wood left to play, Solihull Moors know just how important victory is on Monday if they are to take hold of the all-important third place and an automatic play-off semi-final at home.
Neal Ardley’s side responded positively to a first defeat since early January by beating both Aldershot Town and Weymouth. However, their defensive issues have arisen once more, conceding in both matches. It means that Solihull Moors have now kept just two clean sheets in their last 15 matches, conceding in their last six at home. The reason they are still challenging is because they keep scoring goals – The Moors have scored in 85% of their home matches, including each of their last eight and scored at least two goals in each of those. They have scored in 13 of their last 15 matches.
Bromley have endured a tough run but look to be coming out the other side of it having lost just one of their last five. They created plenty against Dagenham and Redbridge, beat Eastleigh 2-0, created two expected goals vs Aldershot Town then finally found their goalscoring boots on Saturday, scoring four against Chesterfield. Consistent selection has helped with that, Luke Coulson, Marcus Sablier and Corey Whitely all returning to their usual roles. They have scored in five of eight matches away at sides above them in the league table.
The Moors are likely to rotate with a change at centre-back likely as well as Jamey Osborne replacing the more defensive-minded Kyle Storer in midfield. There will be chances for both sides here.
Southend United v Weymouth
After six defeats in seven, Southend United are beginning to find some form and stability again.
Since their 5-0 loss against Stockport County, Southend have won three and lost two, matching or bettering the number of expected goals created in each game compared to their opposition. Their 3-1 victory against Barnet was overdue while victories against FC Halifax Town and Boreham Wood showcased their improved mentality. There has been more consistency in selection during this period, Shaun Hobson currently flanked by Ollie Kensdale and Joe Gubbins in defence while Harry Cardwell and Jack Bridge have returned to the attack. They have won eight of their 12 home matches against sides below them in the league table.
Weymouth were officially relegated following their 6-1 loss against Wrexham in midweek and followed that up with a 4-2 defeat at home to Solihull Moors. The Terras have lost each of their last eight away matches, conceding at least two goals in seven of those. They have scored just three goals in that time and failed to score in six of those away matches. And while David Oldfield’s side are beginning to play with a little more freedom – they have scored in each of their last three matches – it is coming at the expense of any potential defensive solidity, conceding 13 goals.
Chesterfield v Stockport County
This is a game that means a huge amount to both sides and their managers only know one way to manage games – attack.
A win for Chesterfield could take them back into 5th place while a defeat could allow Dagenham and Redbridge to cut the gap to just one point with two games left to play, and Chesterfield play Torquay United away and Woking at home in those two games, awkward opposition. Despite their poor form – the Spireites have lost four of their last seven matches – Paul Cook’s side have been scoring goals, finding the net in five of their last six matches and ten of their last 12. They have scored in all but two home matches this season, including each of their last six. They have conceded in every home match against top half sides. They have seen both teams score in nine of ten home matches against top half sides and 14 of 18 against the same opposition home and away.
Stockport come into this game with their destiny in their own hands. They are one point clear of Wrexham with a game in-hand to play. However, they play FC Halifax Town, Wrexham and Torquay United in the three after this and know they need a response having lost three of their last four. Each of those defeats has been by a 2-1 scoreline and the Hatters have scored in each of their last 33 league matches. They also have the influential Antoni Sarcevic returning for this one while Scott Quigley and Ollie Crankshaw could return to the XI. Stockport have conceded in five of eight away matches against the top 11.
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