Darlington v Curzon Ashton (National League North)
A run of four straight defeats and one win in eight led to questions about Alun Armstrong’s future as Darlington manager. They have responded by winning seven of their next 11 to put themselves within a point of the top seven with six games left to play. The key to their improvement has been their home form. Darlington have won each of their last five at home, conceding just two goals, including big victories against Chorley, Southport, and Boston United, all of whom are in the race for the top seven. They have won five of their nine home matches against bottom-half sides with their two defeats coming in their first two home matches of the season. Notably, their xG performance has been stronger against sides that are performing poorly away from home, which brings us to Curzon Ashton.
The Nash have been in and around the play-off picture for much of the season but have dropped off considerably, winning just five of their last 25 matches and one of their last ten. Their form has dropped off a cliff recently, losing 4-0, 5-0, 3-0 and 4-0 in their last five matches. The Nash have also lost five of their last nine away from home. Four of those have been in seven matches played against top half sides, during which they have scored four goals and none in their last four. They have lost the xG battle by at least 0.7 in seven of their last eight away from home, conceding 20+ shots in six of those.
Southport v AFC Fylde (National League North)
Another week, another selection backing James Rowe and AFC Fylde as they look to secure their position in the National League North and a bye into the play-off semi-finals. Since taking charge, Rowe has overseen six wins in eight matches, falling short only in a home match against AFC Telford United and the visit to Gloucester City, Rowe’s former employers. The most notable improvement to Fylde has been their defensive numbers, conceding just four goals in eight matches. It shows in their xG numbers too, Fylde conceding an average of around 0.4 expected goals less since Rowe’s arrival.
Since 1st February, Southport have won just two of 15 league matches, a run that saw them lose their unbeaten home record and fail to win any of their last seven at The Pure Stadium. Their defeats came against lowly Blyth Spartans and play-off chasing Kettering Town while they have also failed to beat a Leamington side averaging 0.5 points per game away from home. Concerningly, their performances aren’t suggesting that things about to turn for the better, Watson’s side failing to win the xG battle in any of their previous four at home.
Fylde are finding ways to win football matches and have a manager that won’t leave any stone unturned.
York City v Spennymoor Town (National League North)
Having initially stormed into the play-off places, York City have seen their form dip recently, winning one of their last seven and failing to score in four of those matches, including games against fellow contenders Kettering Town and Boston United.
However, their struggles to score at home – one goal in three matches – have not been for the want of trying. York accrued 2+ expected goals in two of those matches and have also totalled similar in five of their last eight matches at the York Community Stadium. They have lost the xG battle once in those eight matches – against league leaders Gateshead. Clayton Donaldson could return to the XI for this one while fellow joint top scorer Mitch Hancox, who has scored 9 in 13 in all competitions since moving into central midfield, returned and scored in midweek.
Spennymoor Town’s approach since former Salford City duo Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley took the reins has been to outscore their opposition and it appears to be working – they have won four of their five away from home, only coming unstuck in a rare poor display at AFC Telford United. They have managed at least 1.3xG in seven of their last eight matches away from home, scoring in each of those matches, and are also conceding at a fairly similar rate, conceding 1.4xG or more in seven of their last nine, keeping just three clean sheets.
Notably, York City have kept three clean sheets in their last eight matches, in each of the games they have been able to deny the opposition an xG of 1 or more. Spennymoor are doing a good job of creating chances. This could be an open, exciting affair.
Bath City v Havant & Waterlooville (National League South)
Havant and Waterlooville’s top seven hopes had started to hit a little bit of a buffer with draws against Dartford and Billericay Town before a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of league leaders Maidstone United. However, they responded in style last weekend with a 4-0 win of their own against the previously tight Braintree Town and I’m backing them to win again this weekend when they travel to Bath City.
Havant have been much improved in recent weeks, winning five of their last nine matches and losing just once. And while their form away from home has been indifferent (one win, two draws and one loss), it’s only against Ebbsfleet United, Dorking Wanderers and Maidstone United that they have been comfortably beaten in terms of expected goals. They have won four of seven away matches against sides in the bottom half, losing just once.
Bath City come into this game knowing how important a victory would be with all three sides below them in the table having a game in hand on them. They are unbeaten in three matches at home – two draws and a victory – but their attacking numbers have dropped, falling below their average xG for in four of their last five home matches. They have just six points from their last eight matches and performances don’t suggest they are about to break away from that
Dorking Wanderers v Chippenham Town
Dorking Wanderers went into last weekend having won just one of five matches, losing ground on league leaders Maidstone United in the process. They responded in style, hitting Slough Town for five.
Both of their recent victories have come at home and it means that they have now won 14 of their 17 home matches this season, giving them a point-per-game total of 2.53 at Meadowbank. They have scored in every home match this season. There were momentary concerns about their performances having fallen below standards during wins against Maidstone United and Hemel Hempstead but they accrued an xG of 2.33 against Hampton and Richmond Borough despite playing with their top scorer in goal for 86 minutes before hitting Slough Town for five.
Chippenham Town’s inconsistent form proved too much for the club’s board, who parted company with manager Mike Cook after their 2-1 loss at home to Maidstone United at the weekend. Gary Horgan has been tasked with giving the Bluebirds a shot in the arm coming into the Easter weekend but they have lost four of their last eight matches and four of their last six away from home. They have scored once in those six away matches, away at lowly Billericay Town.
The hosts look to have found their form again and Horgan could not have handpicked a tougher first assignment.
Ebbsfleet United v Dulwich Hamlet
Despite failing to win either of their last two home matches – against Hungerford Town and Dorking Wanderers – Ebbsfleet United have the third best home record in the National League South and I’m backing them to show that again on Good Friday.
The Fleet have won 11 of their 17 home matches this season and have scored in all but one of their matches at Stonebridge Road. They also have the second best xG for and xG against in the National League South, behind Dorking Wanderers and Maidstone United, respectively. They have had a drop-off in their performances at home, admittedly coming against Eastbourne Borough, Oxford City and Dorking Wanderers. However, they were comfortably the better side in defeat against Hungerford Town and they followed that up with another strong performances at Welling United.
Dulwich Hamlet are another side in contention for the final play-off spot despite prolonged poor form, currently sitting three places and one point behind St.Albans City. The Hamlet have won five of their last 23 league matches, including none of their last seven and just two of their last 12 away from home. They have won the xG battle by 0.3 or more in just three matches away from home this season and only of those has been against a side with a PPG of 1.4 or more.
The visitors are struggling on the road and struggle against the better home sides. The hosts have found their tough in recent matches and I’m backing that to continue this weekend.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
18+ please gamble responsibly.
Back the Four and Five Star Selections as an Accumulator on Betfair ⬇️
*Bet link only appears when accessing from mobile.
Haven’t got a Betfair account? You’re in luck…
Sign up to Betfair and get a full refund if your first bet loses. Grab an account through the offer below and place £20 on the 18/1 National League North & South Best Bets Accumulator. Here are the two possible outcomes:
Or you get your £20 stake back as cash