AFC Fylde v Leamington (National League North)
Unlike a lot of National League North matches, there isn’t anything riding on this fixture. AFC Fylde have secured third place in the league while the worst thing that can happen to Leamington is that they finish 16th rather than 15th.
I’m backing the hosts for victory here. For starters, James Rowe has overseen a positive home record since taking over, the Coasters winning six and drawing two of eight home matches. Fylde will be keen to end the regular season on a high heading into their play-off campaign and their qualification for the play-off semi-final means they have a week’s rest, allowing Rowe to name a strong XI for their final league match.
Leamington come into this game having finally won their second away fixture of the season, against Curzon Ashton. It means they have won their last two games. However, Leamington have lost all five away matches played against top six opposition this season and seven of nine against sides currently in the top ten. They also come into this game having played a full-strength side in their Birmingham Senior Cup Final on Wednesday evening. While a number of changes were made for their Bank Holiday Monday fixture, this will be Leamington’s fourth match in eight days.
Farsley Celtic v Boston United (National League North)
A game with a lot riding on it. Farsley Celtic are currently third from bottom and two points clear of basement outfit Guiseley. However, their goal difference is worse than both AFC Telford United, a point behind, and Guiseley, meaning that a draw may not be enough. The visitors, Boston United, are currently eighth in the league table, level on points with Kettering Town but with Alfreton Town two points behind.
Russ Wilcox has done wonders at Farsley Celtic, giving them a previously unlikely opportunity to survive. They have won four and drawn three of their ten home matches since Wilcox took the reins and that record has improved further recently, losing one of their last six at The Citadel. They have conceded more than one goal just once in those six matches. Farsley have also lost just two of seven matches against sides in the top seven, have lost just seven of 19 home matches and just four of their last 12 matches overall.
Boston United come into this game having never truly hit form since Paul Cox took the reins, winning eight, drawing seven and losing six. Their away form hasn’t been much stronger, winning three of 11. They have won just three of their last nine coming into this game, including none of their previous three, and they have drawn with Blyth Spartans, Gloucester City and AFC Telford United since the start of April. Another curious thing is that while Boston have incredibly scored in every match Paul Cox has taken charge of, they have only scored once in 12 of their last 14 matches – Farsley Celtic have scored in nine of their last 11 league matches.
Both teams to score is another possible bet but with the odds being higher for Farsley Celtic to gain a result, I’m backing that.
Concord Rangers v Welling United (National League South)
Concord Rangers v Welling United, typical of the type of game that is often found on final day – two sides with nothing to play for and likely to find the back of the net.
Firstly, Concord Rangers. Both teams have scored in six of their last seven matches and each of their last nine home matches. There have been three or more goals in four of their last seven matches and seven of their last nine. There have been three or more goals in 68% of their home matches this season and both sides have scored in 74%. Both teams have scored in six of their home matches against sides 12th or lower in the league table with five ending with three or more goals.
Then there is Welling United. Both teams have scored in five of their last six matches, with three or more goals scored in each of those games. There have been three or more goals, with both teams scoring, in seven of their last eight away matches. There have been three or more goals in 79% of The Wings’ away matches with both sides having scored in 63%. There have been three or more goals in four of their eight away matches against sides 12th or lower with both sides having scored in five of those.
I’m going to play safer and back both teams to score here, especially with Concord having drawn two of their last three matches 1-1. However, I wouldn’t back against over 2.5 goals here.
Ebbsfleet United v Chelmsford City (National League South)
I’m backing the side with plenty to play for against the side with nothing to play for.
Ebbsfleet United haven’t made it easy for themselves this calendar but a run of five victories from six has given them a chance of securing third place. They come into this game needing a victory – they are two points and a place clear of Dartford but their goal difference is worse. Notably, each of their five recent wins have come against bottom half opposition. The Fleet have won 12 of their 19 home matches this season. They have scored in 95% of home matches (Chelmsford City have conceded in 89% of their away matches) and have kept clean sheets in 42%. Ebbsfleet have won six of seven home matches against sides in 13th or below and not conceded more than one goal in those matches, scoring two or more in each win.
It doesn’t look positive for a Chelmsford City side that are likely to finish the season third from bottom. The Clarets have won two and lost two of their last eight matches but have only faced one side in the top seven in that time, losing that away at champions Maidstone United. They have lost five of six matches against the top seven away from home, not scoring more than one goal in those matches and conceding two or more in five.
Havant & Waterlooville v Chippenham Town (National League South)
This is an enormous fixture for both clubs. Havant and Waterlooville are currently seventh in the table, occupying the final play-off position. Only Chippenham Town can catch them. There is one point between the sides. Winner takes a place-off spot.
I’m backing the hosts to get a result here. Paul Doswell’s side come into this game having lost just one of their last 14 matches, and that was away at champions Maidstone United. They have won seven of those 14 matches and, crucially, six of their seven at home during this period. They have scored at least two goals in each of those seven home matches – Chippenham have conceded two or more in four of their last six matches overall.
The visitors made a bold decision a few weeks ago, letting go of manager Mike Cook and replacing him with Gary Horgan on an interim basis. It has worked – they have won three of five matches. However, all three of those victories came at home – they drew away at Ebbsfleet United and lost at Dorking Wanderers. The Wiltshire club have won just five of 19 away matches this season and while they have only lost two of eight away matches against sides in the top ten, they have drawn six.
The visitors have to win, which likely means the hosts will have space to attack, and they are in form at home. I think the hosts steal the victory here and, at worst, they get the point they need.
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