Chester v Farsley Celtic (National League North)
There is a different feel about Chester as they reach the end of what has been a frustrating and ultimately unremarkable campaign.
The Blues have scored in each of their last eight matches and were unafraid to have a go at league leaders Gateshead, 3rd place AFC Fylde and 4th place Kidderminster Harriers, only coming out with one point from those three matches but scoring six goals and having narrowly won the xG battle in their previous two matches and put three past Gateshead. Prior to that, they beat Guiseley and Blyth Spartans away from home, scored three at Gloucester City and beat Kettering Town 4-0. They have scored at least two goals in five of seven matches against sides in the bottom four, winning four.
Recent performances and results should ensure Chester come into this game with confidence. To add to that confidence, they are facing a Farsley Celtic side that have picked up just nine points away from home this season, including just one point from six matches against the bottom eight. They have also scored in just one of those matches. Admittedly, The Celts have managed to drag themselves out of the relegation zone following a run of two defeats in nine matches but they have lost their last two away matches, including a crucial defeat at Blyth Spartans.
Guiseley v Curzon Ashton (National League North)
The Guiseley board left it late to follow Blyth Spartans, AFC Telford United, Farsley Celtic, Chester and Gloucester City in pushing the panic button and letting go of their manager. Or managers, in the case of Guiseley (and Chester).
Replacing Russ O’Neill and Marcus Bignot on a caretaker basis is Steve Kittrick and it has brought an immediate change in fortunes, The Lions picking up four points in their last three matches to give them a glimmer of hope coming into their final four league matches – they are now three, four and five points behind the sides ahead of them. Those results came away at Kettering Town and a draw at Bradford Park Avenue, in which they had the better of the game. They were accompanied by clean sheets, showing a resolve that could be crucial in their bid to survive. Guiseley have won five, drawn three and lost two of the ten games against sides 10th or lower in the table.
Curzon Ashton come into this game having enjoyed back-to-back victories over the Easter period, ending a run of one point from and one goal in six matches. The Nash still have faint hopes of being able to reach the play-offs, currently sitting five points behind seventh placed Kettering Town with a game in hand but they would need to overtake seven teams to make it. Their record against the sides in the bottom four has been poor, winning just one of six matches. They have lost against AFC Telford United, Gloucester City and Farsley Celtic since the start of March.
Kettering Town v Gateshead (National League North)
This is one of those selections in which the focus is all about one team.
Gateshead appear to have taken defeat at title challengers Brackley Town personally. They have responded in true Gateshead style, scoring 14 goals in three matches to not only dispatch Chester, Guiseley and Darlington but also extend their lead at the top to four points. The Heed top the form table with 19 points from their last eight matches, the only other dropped points coming against Bradford Park Avenue, a game in which they created more than three expected goals. They have won 11 of their 19 away matches this season, including six of their last nine. Gateshead have also scored in every away match against sides 4th or lower in the league able, including two or more on 11 occasions.
Kettering Town come into the game in decent form. They have won four and drawn three of their last eight matches, including impressive victories against play-off challengers Southport and Chorley. Their only defeat came in a surprise loss at home against Guiseley. The Poppies have won two and lost six of their ten matches against sides above them in the league table, including a 3-1 loss at Gateshead in the reverse fixture.
Dorking Wanderers v Concord Rangers (National League South)
Dorking Wanderers showed signs of returning to their best against Hampton and Richmond Borough and Ebbsfleet United and they have followed it up in style, winning each of their last three and scoring 12 goals without reply. It means we should see goals on Saturday.
Dorking Wanderers’ home form this season has been exceptional, winning 15 of their 18 games at Meadowbank, drawing one and losing two. They have scored at least two goals in 13 of those matches, including 12 of 14 against sides 6th or lower in the league table. They have scored two or more goals in five of their last six home matches and also in nine of their last 11 league matches overall.
They face a Concord Rangers side with a penchant for scoring goals away from home in the National League South – they have only failed to score in three away matches all season. They have also kept just three clean sheets on the road. Four of their last six matches have ended with three or more goals being scored.
While both teams to score is a viable bet here, there is always a chance that Dorking Wanderers could continue their recent form of blitzing sides without reply. Therefore, I’m backing over 2.5 goals. After all, 78% of Dorking’s home matches have finished with three or more goals being scored and while Concord’s rate of goals in away games has slowed down recently, they still have a rate of 61% across the season.
Hemel Hempstead v Maidstone United (National League South)
If any side was going to break Dartford’s unbeaten record at home this season, it was going to be Maidstone United, the side that cannot stop winning football matches.
Since 20th November, Maidstone United have won 19 of their 23 league matches. They have won seven, drawn two and lost two of their away matches in that time, including victories in each of their last three. They have won each of their last six in the league overall, remaining four points clear at the top of the league table with four games left to play.
Are Hemel Hempstead the side to end Maidstone’s winning streak? It’s unlikely.
The Hertfordshire outfit have actually won six of their last eight at home but lost the only game played against a side in the top half, 2-0 against St.Albans City. Mark Jones’ side have played eight matches against sides 10th or higher in the league table at home and failed to win any, losing six, failing to score in four and conceding at least two goals in every match. They have also failed to win any match played against sides in the top six. They also don’t have much to play for, coming into this game five points below seventh placed Havant and Waterlooville with six sides currently between them and the final play-off spot.
Another victory for the winning machine is to be expected.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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