GW 30 – Ones to Watch
Matt: I suppose you could say normal service was resumed last weekend, yes there was plenty of action at Club 100 (not nearly as much as the two previous gameweeks mind) but there was also a lot of frustration and exasperation as a couple of heavily backed sides drew blanks – Newcastle Utd and Airdrie have a lot to answer for! Cue lots of low/minus scores that really could and should have been hefty ones. This game!
GW 30 is upon us, meaning we are now two-thirds of the way through the season, so it’s time to step it up a little if you have designs on winning the Global League. That’s what we’ll be trying to do in this section too and a repeat of last week would go down a treat for me, especially another 6 goal ‘Falkirk style’ return! My first tip features a fixture that until a few weeks ago would surely have been viewed by everyone as an absolute banker, but recent results may just put doubts in people’s heads. It’s comes from the English Championship (a risk in itself!), where an out of sorts West Bromwich Albion take on Luton Town at The Hawthorns. Albion’s 2-1 defeat at Cardiff City on Tuesday night saw them relinquish the lead at the top of the league table, no surprise really considering their recent decline in fortunes, but a home match against a team whose away form is so poor it almost makes you shudder should be the perfect opportunity to get their automatic promotion push right back on track. The Hatters have lost eleven consecutive away games, conceding at least 2 goals in every one, and have shipped 39 goals on their travels in league matches alone. Unsurprisingly they sit rock bottom of the form guide in terms of away results, but they did have a morale boosting 3-2 victory at home to Derby County on Tuesday evening, their first win since the 7th of December. Luton’s sole aim from here on in will surely be to avoid relegation, but i’m not sure this is a game they’ll be pinpointing as a particularly good chance to secure any points! That said, The Baggies’ home form has been nearly as bad as their visitors’ away record recently; just 2 points from the previous four games and no win at The Hawthorns since early December. I don’t see either side playing for a draw – West Brom can’t afford to keep dropping points and Luton look incapable of keeping it tight on the road – so i’m predicting goals here on Saturday afternoon.
I’m dropping into the National League for my second tip, which has proved to be a far more reliable source of goals than most other leagues this season! Rather like the fixture above, this is another ‘promotion chasing’ v ‘relegation threatened’ battle, namely Yeovil Town versus Chorley. The Glovers, rather like West Brom, could do with a win after managing just two draws and a defeat in their previous three league matches, although mixed in there was a 4-0 thrashing of Hampton & Richmond in the FA Trophy. They also scored 6 at home to Torquay Utd as recently as Boxing Day and goalscoring in general hadn’t been too much of an issue until two blanks in the last four games. Facing a bottom of the pile Chorley side who are 12 points off safety and look certainties to drop into the National League North, this really is a match Yeovil should be aiming to not only cement their place in the top 7, but try to apply some pressure on Barrow AFC and Harrogate Town should either of them slip up. The Magpies are without a win in any competition since November and have taken a measly 2 points in their last eight league outings, conceding in eleven consecutive matches. They haven’t managed a clean sheet on the road since the 11th of November and i don’t see that changing at Huish Park on Saturday. Good luck to you all.
Ally: I’m going north of the border for both of my selections this week. First up are the ever-reliable Cove Rangers, who will be looking to put further daylight between themselves and nearest challengers Edinburgh City at the top of League Two. Cove, on paper at least, have the easier of the rivals’ fixtures with a trip to 8th placed Albion Rovers, while Edinburgh entertain in-form Stirling. The Wee Rangers boast a perfect home record with 11 wins from 11, but away is a little different as their 10 games have seen them drop some points with a draw and 3 defeats. They’ve still hit 27 goals in those 10 matches, and as if they needed further amunition they’ve recently convinced Peterhead’s prolific front man Rory McAllister to drop a division for the remainder of the season. Albion’s results may have picked up of late, but they rarely keep clean sheets and given that Cove have hit 8 in their last 2 away games it’s difficult to see anything but another comfortable win for the visitors.
Staying in League Two, I’m going for the consistently inconsistent Elgin City, who have a trip to basement side Brechin City. Admittedly I’ve been drawn more by Brechin’s defensive woes, as they average almost 2.5 goals conceded per game, than I have Elgin’s attacking prowess, but in fairness they are the 3rd highest scorers in the league, albeit some distance behind Edinburgh and Cove. Their two away games in 2020 have so far yielded 6 goals, scoring 4 at Annan and 2 more last week at in-form Stirling. Brechin meanwhile were thrashed by Cove last time out and have just one home clean sheet to their name all season, against fellow struglers Albion. One of Brechin’s 2 home league wins came against Elgin, though they also played a memorable Challenge Cup tie back in August which saw Elgin eventually run out 5-4 winners in a 9 goal thriller. While I don’t foresee a repeat of that scoreline, I’d be surprised if Elgin don’t trouble the scorers. Good luck!