Altrincham v Eastleigh
It’s long overdue, but Altrincham are performing to a high standard again in the National League.
Since coming back from 2-0 down against Woking, Phil Parkinson’s side have started hitting the right notes. They have won three of their last five and kept clean sheets in four of those matches, only coming unstuck away at title chasing Boreham Wood. Their two home games in that time have been 3-0 and 5-0 hammerings too, play-off chasing Dagenham and Redbridge and lowly Weymouth on the end of those. Dan Mooney, Jordan Hulme and Ryan Colclough are rightly receiving plaudits but loan signings Jake Cooper, Harry Perritt and Eddy Jones have had a positive impact on the backline, as well as ex-Bradford Park Avenue man Isaac Marriott at the base of midfield.
They take on Eastleigh this weekend and there are two ways for their fans to look at this one. The first is that they have a new manager and hammered Wealdstone in his first game, scoring four in morale-boosting victory. The other is that their away form has been abysmal, earning just eight points from 15 matches. Eastleigh have scored in just five away matches this season and lost four of their seven away matches against bottom half sides.
Bradbury enjoyed the perfect start but this will be a real test for his new side.
FC Halifax Town v Dover Athletic
It will be an enormous turn up for the books if Pete Wild’s FC Halifax Town don’t beat Dover Athletic on Saturday.
The Whites have picked up just eight points from 31 matches this season and are comfortably the worst team to play at this level since 2013/14. It’s not inconceivable that they fail match Hyde United’s overall points tally of ten from that campaign. Andy Hessenthaler’s side now have 13 matches in which to attain the remaining three points needed to avoid that unwanted record, even if they are all but guaranteed to finish with the lowest points total ever thanks to their 12-point deduction.
The hosts have ambitions of exiting the National League at the other end and they have responded positively to back-to-back defeats by taking ten points from their last four. The Shaymen are currently fourth in the table but have two and three games in hand on the sides above them. Their home record has been key to their promotion push – they have won ten of their 13 matches and their record against sides sixth or lower in the table reads nine wins and one loss.
Notably, Halifax have kept eight clean sheets in their ten wins at The Shay this season and they have also kept clean sheets in their last two, coinciding with the returns of Niall Maher and Tyrell Warren. Halifax will win this match and there’s every reason to believe they keep a clean sheet in the process.
Wealdstone v Weymouth
Wealdstone have been something of a surprise package this season.
Stuart Maynard took the reins at Wealdstone with 24 matches to play last season – they won four, conceded 60 and three or more in ten matches. The rookie manager then oversaw a huge squad churn as his side attempted to defy the odds and survive, despite being one of the few part-time clubs at this level.
They have rose to the challenge well. Wealdstone know that victory on Saturday would see them pull 16 points clear of their opposition, Weymouth, who would have 11 games left to close the gap. Key to their survival bid has been their home form. They have lost two of 12 home matches against sides sixth or lower, won four of seven home matches against sides 13th or lower and won six of ten matches against the sides below them in the league table, their two defeats both coming against Woking.
Weymouth are running out of time, David Oldfield has not had the impact he hoped to have after taking over from Brian Stock, winning one of his 11 matches in charge. The Terras have eight points from an available 45 on the road this season and have not won on the road since October, losing each of the last three, including a 5-0 trouncing at Altrincham in midweek.
Wealdstone were beaten 4-1 at the weekend but don’t tend to perform poorly twice and I’m backing them for victory on Saturday to all but secure their place in next season’s National League.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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