GW 36 – Ones to Watch
Matt: Last week may have seen a welcome return to form in terms of tips in this section, but what a horrendously bad gameweek it was for the masses! Well done to the tiny minority of you who managed to score right through from x2 to x8 on what proved to be a very challenging weekend!
GW 36 signals the beginning of March’s fixtures and let’s hope we don’t see a repeat of February – an incredibly tough month and one that saw many of you struggle week after week. I’m heading into League Two for my first pick here, where promotion chasing Crewe Alexandra face relegation threatened Stevenage. These two sides are polar opposites in regard to both league position and current form suggests that the home side should have little trouble finding the net – it’s second top versus rock bottom and five home wins on the trot versus five away defeats on the trot! The Railwaymen have scored in every home game since the 2nd of November, are joint top of the ‘home’ form guide and are also joint top scorers in home games across this season with 35 goals to their name. On the other hand Boro are bottom of the ‘away’ form guide, picking up just a solitary victory and a measly ten points on their travels, with recent league defeats at Crawley Town, Bradford City, Exeter City and Grimsby Town resulting in another 10 goals being added to their ever-growing ‘goals against’ column! The reverse fixture in December saw Crewe run riot at Broadhall Way, as Alex plundered 5 goals in what was another low point of a season that is looking increasingly destined to end in relegation to the National League for Stevenage. If this fixture plays out true to form then their current plight will not be taking a turn for the better on Saturday afternoon!
Moving North of the border, my second choice comes from Scottish League One where there’s a not dissimilar story panning out in the match between Falkirk and Peterhead. Like Crewe, Falkirk are also in second place in the standings, although their visitors aren’t in quite as much disarray, as Peterhead currently have a two point cushion between them and the relegation zone. The stats in terms of results all have a familiar look too; five home league wins on the bounce for the home side, five away league defeats on the bounce for Peterhead. The Bairns are particularly strong on their Falkirk Stadium turf, sitting top of the pile for both points won and goals scored (29 and 32 respectively), with maximum points and 12 goals netted from their four League One home games this calendar year. Peterhead are suffering from a serious bout of away day blues, with ten defeats in their previous 11 trips around the country and a grand total of ZERO clean sheets on the road this season! The Blue Toon have already been thrashed 4-0 at Falkirk this season and with their hosts hunting for a precious win that could see the go top of the league, i’m fully expecting plenty of goalmouth action here. Good luck to you all.
Ally: After the shock failures of highly fancied Liverpool, West Brom and Rangers last week, I’m steering clear of the so-called big hitters this week. First up is Scottish League One outfit Montrose who welcome bottom of the pile Stranraer to the Links Park Stadium. The hosts are hunting down Airdrieonians and East Fife in the race for a play off spot, having a game in hand on both teams above them, and with those two playing each other on Saturday Montrose will surely see this as a perfect opportunity to take points from one or both rivals. They average almost 2 goals per game at home, and have won 8 of their last 10 matches their in all competitions, failing to score just once against title-chasing Raith. Stranraer may be the third oldest club in Scotland, but are heading rapidly down to League Two, and are winless on the road this season with 6 draws providing their 6 points. More worryingly they have the worst defence too, conceding 33 times and so I’m expecting The Gable Endies to get among the goals and maintain their play off push.
Next up I’m going to the National League, where the recent form of both Harrogate Town and Bromley has caught my eye, but for differing reasons. The visitors were early season pace-setters, but The Ravens have endured a torrid few months which has seen them drop down to 12th place, as their last 10 league matches have seen them accumulate just 7 points. This is in complete contrast to Saturday’s hosts, who are gamely trying to hang on to leaders Barrow’s coat tails at the top of the table, as they have collected an unrivalled 25 points over the same 10 game period as their opponents, scoring 21 goals in the process. Also they have only failed to score twice in 17 outtings since the start of September 2019 at Wetherby Road, so all this suggests we are likely to see Harrogate adding further to the goals for tally on Saturday, and apply pressure to leaders Barrow who face a tricky home tie against in-form Notts County. Good luck with your selections.