GW 7 – Ones to Watch

Matt: It’s been a mad couple of weeks here at TUG, from the sublime GW 5 ‘ton fest’ to the ridiculous GW 6 Dundee United related carnage! Last weekend once again proved that one team can put a huge spanner in the works of many, many players – and that there really is no logic to football sometimes, when a team goes from scoring 6 goals on the road to being unable to find the net at home to a side two divisions below them, in the space of a just a few days! Frustration, anger, pain………but hopefully also a wry smile about it from those of you who backed The Terrors (and what an appropriate nickname that is for them in such circumstances!)

We’re absolutely thrilled that GW 7 offers up fixtures from all nine of our chosen UK leagues, not only for the first time this season, but for the first time since way back in March! After the temporary suspension of both the football season and this game some six months ago, followed by the premature conclusion of most of our usual leagues last season, we’ve been unable to get anywhere near having a full UK fixture list available. It’s fantastic to finally be welcoming back the Scottish Championship, League One and League Two at long last and let’s hope that we don’t have too many Covid related postponements over the coming weeks.

First up for me this weekend, on what appears to be yet another tricky gameweek i should add, is a trip into the National League, where last season’s Play-Off Final losers Notts County take on Maidenhead United at Meadow Lane. County have made a strong start to the season, despite an opening day loss at Dover Athletic, taking the full 9 points out of 9 since that surprise defeat down on the Kent coast. A 94th minute winner at Sutton United in midweek will have heightened their already burgeoning confidence, as they aim to put last season’s heartache well and truly to bed and stick another 3 points on the board in their quest for a return to the Football League. In their two league outings on home turf this season, The Magpies have already notched up 7 goals, with striker Kyle Wootton in sparking goalscoring form; he’s netted four times in his last three outings. Maidenhead can only dream of possessing a forward with that sort of prowess, although the Berkshire based outfit will at least head North in a much better frame of mind than they were this time a few days ago, courtesy of an excellent 1-0 away win at Wrexham on Monday evening. Prior to that win in Wales they were pointless from three league fixtures, having conceded an alarming 10 goals in those games, including back-to-back home losses to newly-promoted Kings Lynn Town and then Hartlepool United, the latter a 4-0 drubbing! Despite the encouraging win and clean sheet at Wrexham, i don’t envisage a repeat of that in this match (certainly not the clean sheet anyway), as all the signs point towards Notts carrying on where they left off in their high-scoring home games against Altrincham and Barnet.

Now that we have the Scottish lower leagues back in play, it would have been remiss of me not to give those fixtures due care and attention. Indeed, my second tip comes from League Two, where poor old Brechin City face Edinburgh City in their opening league match. I have to put my hands up here and say that this pick is based purely on what’s occurred in the recent Scottish League Cup matches, where Brechin have shipped goals like it’s going out of fashion! In their three group games so far, they’ve lost 6-2, 7-0 and most recently (a slightly more respectable!) 3-1. In fairness, two of those opponents were Premiership sides in Dundee United and St. Johnstone, but even so that’s a lot of goals to concede! Having said that, visitors Edinburgh have fared little better, having also lost all three of their group games thus far, although since a 5-1 mauling by Livingston they have at least been competitive – unlike their hosts! Further question marks over this choice arise when you look back to last season and see that the capital city side drew a blank at home to Brechin in their most recent meeting, although they did win 3-2 away at Glebe Park prior to that. All in all, this isn’t exactly the safest of tips, but with goals aplenty in their combined six League Cup ties (a mindblowing 32 to be precise, wow!), i’m taking a punt that this match might offer up more of the same. Good luck to you all.