Aldershot Town v Dagenham and Redbridge
Dagenham and Redbridge come into their Easter Monday fixture knowing that victory could see them close the gap on the play-offs to one or two points, depending on other results.
A couple of months back, it looked as if their race was run as far as the top seven was concerned. However, they have responded positively, winning six of their last nine matches, including four of their last five away from home. Notably, all six of those wins came in the six matches played against sides 11th or lower in the league table, only dropping points against the sides they are battling for a play-off position. Confidence is clearly high again, as shown by their 7-3 victory against Barnet on Good Friday – they were 5-0 up at half-time.
Aldershot Town come into this game having won each of their last two. Injuries and poor form have paved the way for their recent results, Mark Molesley forced to call upon those previously on the fringes of his squad and they have made a positive impact. However, Aldershot have won just three of their 19 home matches this season, losing 11. They have also beaten Boreham Wood, who have won one in 12, losing seven, and Yeovil Town, whose manager recently departed for another National League club. This will be a much tougher challenge against a more organised and confident side. Also, Molesley has shown a tendency to make a lot of changes to his side when the turnaround on games is short.
I’m backing the visitors to make it seven wins from ten.
Bromley v Maidenhead United
Bromley recorded a long overdue victory at Eastleigh on Friday and I’m backing them to make it back-to-back victories when they take on Maidenhead United on Monday.
That 2-0 victory ended a ten-match winless run during which they picked up four points and it was also the first time they had scored two goals in a match in eight attempts. However, their performances against Wealdstone, King’s Lynn Town and Dagenham and Redbridge suggested an upturn in form was close. Some key changes to the XI have helped, Jude Arthurs being moved from central midfield to right wing-back while Louis Dennis and George Alexander have returned to the side.
It’s notable that only three of those ten matches were at home and the defeats came against league leaders Stockport County and in-form Dagenham and Redbridge. Bromley have been strong at home this season, winning ten and drawing three of their 17 matches. They have won every single home match played against sides 15th or lower in the league table.
Maidenhead United come into this game having won their last two but they were against Dover Athletic and Weymouth, the sides propping up the league table. Alan Devonshire’s side have lost 11 of their 19 league matches away from home, including six of eight against sides in the top 11 of the league table. Their only points against those sides came on the opening day at FC Halifax Town and at Wrexham when the hosts had ten men from the fourth minute.
Dover Athletic v Woking
Dover Athletic’s record speaks for itself.
Despite their remarkable victory on Friday, just their second of the season, and their improved performances since relegation was confirmed, they still remain the worst side in the division. The worst National League side since Hyde United’s relegation over a decade ago. They have lost 14 of their 18 home matches this season and have scored more than once in just two of those matches – defeats against Stockport County and Wealdstone.
On Monday, they come up against a Woking side who have won four, drawn one and lost three of their eight matches since Alan Dowson departed the club. Notably, they have not conceded a goal in the four games played against sides in the bottom half of the table during that time and Woking have scored two or more goals in seven of their nine matches away from home against bottom half teams. They are also a big, powerful unit and Darren Sarll has his full complement of attacking options at his disposal for this one.
The hosts are performing bravely but the visitors are strong from set-pieces, a real weak point for Dover, and they will also be without their key creative spark Koby Arthur.
Stockport County v Solihull Moors
Stockport County and Solihull Moors endured very interesting starts to their Easter Weekends.
Stockport come into this game having seen their nine-match winning streak and 18-match unbeaten run come to an end after a 2-1 loss at Grimsby Town, a game they led in. Solihull Moors, meanwhile, extended their unbeaten league run to 16 matches, holding second place Wrexham to a 1-1 draw to boost their chances of a top three finish while also helping Stockport County in their title challenge.
Despite those results, I’m going to back Stockport County to get straight back to winning ways on Monday and it’s because of the numbers. For starters, Stockport County are unbeaten at home under Dave Challinor, winning ten of 12 league matches at Edgeley Park. Stockport also haven’t failed to win back-to-back matches since Challinor took charge. Their defeat on Friday came during a fairly even affair from a chance creation point of view and they also beat Solihull Moors 1-0 away from home in late December having been the better side.
Solihull Moors, meanwhile, were fortunate to come away with a point on Friday having conceded just shy of three expected goals. Their games with Grimsby Town and Woking were fairly level, they conceded chances at Barnet. Their unbeaten run will come to an end eventually and given it didn’t happen on Friday, I think it will happen on Monday.
Torquay United v Eastleigh
The Torquay United train keeps rolling and they have the top seven in their sights.
Gary Johnson’s side have now won 12 and drawn five of their last 20 league matches, winning four of their last five. Their home form is part of that run, winning six, drawing four and lost one of their last 11. Of the five matches they haven’t won, only one has come against a side not in the top half. They have won four of their last five in the league, including all three home matches, during which they have scored 12 matches. Their record against sides 12th or lower since early December reads nine wins, two draws and one loss.
Things haven’t quite gone to plan for Lee Bradbury since taking over at Eastleigh, losing six and winning two of his eight matches in charge. Admittedly, five of those six defeats have come against sides in the top 11 but that is part of the problem coming into this game – Torquay United are currently one of the best sides in the division. The Spitfires have lost 14 of their 19 away matches this season – only Weymouth and Dover Athletic have worse records – and that extends to 12 losses in 13 matches against the top 15 away from home, scoring in only four of those matches. Bradbury doesn’t seem to know his best XI either, which doesn’t help.
The hosts should have too much quality and energy against a side still trying to find their feet under a new manager.
Wrexham v Altrincham
Quite how Wrexham didn’t beat Solihull Moors on Friday is a mystery. They had 27 shots, recorded an xG of 2.99, saw a Solihull Moors centre-back win man of the match and somehow finished up drawing 1-1.
The numbers show that despite the points being dropped, Wrexham remain a very potent side at home. They have won nine and drawn two of their 11 at home, the other coming when they had ten men against Maidenhead United for 86 minutes. They have won five of their last eight home matches by more than one goal, scoring three and six in the other victories. With Paul Mullin, Jordan Davies and Ollie Palmer around, goals are always likely.
Altrincham come into this game in decent form having lost two of their last 11, including six victories. However, five of those victories came at home. Of their away matches, they have lost five of their last eight, only picking up results at Barnet (18th), Maidenhead United (16th) and King’s Lynn Town (21st). They have failed to score in five of their last six on the road and each of the five matches they have lost, they have lost by more than one goal. They have conceded at least two goals in every match against the top nine and lost five of their seven matches against sides in the top four by more than one goal.
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