Tuesday night was a bit disappointing with just 2 of the 7 bets winning and I was certainly glad of the late Sutton and Billericay goals with the latter meaning it was the 3rd winning Nap out of 4. This weekend I like the look of five teams.
Solihull v Halifax
Just the one bet for me in the National League this week and it is the home side. Now I know Barrow went down to ten men, but it was a great performance for the home side to come back from 2 down to make it 3-2. Unfortunately for them Barrow scored a late equaliser, but it was the first signs of life from Solihull this season. They should take a lot of heart out of that performance and they face what on paper is an easier game here. Halifax have drawn 2 and lost 2 so far and although they haven’t performed badly as such, they have been rather underwhelming so far. What I can’t understand is why Halifax are nearly as short as Barrow were on Tuesday night. These two sides should both be in a relegation battle this season and I doubt there is all that much between them. That means the home side are way too big at 23/10 (Marathon) as I would make them marginal favourites based on home advantage.
Poole v St Albans
On the face of it Poole have had a very good start to the season, but I don’t think it tells the whole story, especially when looking at their win on Tuesday night against Chippenham. They won 1-0 thanks to a 93rd minute winner, but Chippenham only had 9 men from the 65th minute so they should have won the match easier than they did. Their other win was against Weston on the first day of the season and I don’t think that says an awful lot. St Albans on the other-hand have the only 100% record in the division and are looking every bit the title contenders I hoped they would be when I put them up for the title pre-season. Most impressive was their 2-0 victory at title favourites Chelmsford on Monday night and I think the 2/1 with BetVictor and Stan James is worth taking on them to make it 5/5.
Brackley v Spennymoor
Two sides who both come into this game with 100% records and something will obviously have to give here. Spennymoor are already proving their 100/1 title odds when betting opened up as silly by winning all 3 of their games including beating Stockport on day 1 of the season. This game will obviously be tough, but to me this is by far and away Brackley’s toughest game yet and I just don’t understand how Spennymoor can be as 7/2 with Marathon to win this. Brackley do look stronger than last season and they should be in the play-off picture and they are the right favs, but I would have Spennymoor around the 2/1 mark so they have to be backed.
Gosport Borough v Royston Town
These two sides had very differing seasons last time around as Gosport were relegated whilst Royston were promoted and it is Royston I want to be backing here. Gosport have had all sorts of issues the last couple of seasons and it was no real surprise they came down and you have to wonder if they might suffer another relegation based on their two losses so far. They lost 5-1 at home to Slough on Tuesday night and obviously Slough should be in contention for the title, but Royston were another one of my bets for the league so this should be another tough game for the hosts. They lost 2-1 to Stratford last weekend, but they bounced back with a good performance in beating a decent Farnborough side 1-0 on Wednesday night. The price on the away side isn’t far off 2/1 with Marathon and that looks way too big and I make them the best bet of the weekend.
Merstham v Tooting & Mitcham
Last season Merstham were pretty strong and home but pretty poor away and you just wonder if it might be the same this season. Saturday saw them beat Wingate & Finchley 4-1 at home, but they then lost 2-1 at Folkstone on Tuesday night. Back at home I fancy them to beat promoted Tooting who drew with fellow promoted side Brightlingsea on Saturday but followed that up with a 6-0 defeat at Staines on Tuesday night. I think they can find it tough this season and Merstham are nearly 6/4 with Marathon to make it 2/2 at home.
St Albans 1pt
National League topscorer
After Dave Tarpey scored twice against Hartlepool on Saturday it was clear to me he was going to be capable of scoring another big tally as he has the last 2 seasons at National League South level, especially last year. He was 16/1 to be topscorer after that and I meant to tip him up in my blog on Tuesday. I forgot didn’t get round to writing another one and didn’t get round to backing him myself. He then duly went and scored 4 against Fylde and is price is now 5/1! Now obviously it is frustrating that he is now 11 points shorter, but given he is already on 7 for the season I think he will be very hard to catch. He is just a natural finisher and if he doesn’t get at least close to 30, barring injury, I will be surprised. I can’t see him leaving Maidenhead as he signed a new contract in the summer and at the age of 29 I can’t see a Football League club wanting to stump up the money it will cost to take him away from them. Also he seems really happy at Maidenhead under Alan Devonshire. He could have left in the summer before signing a contract so I would be surprised if he moved elsewhere, although maybe Glenn will offer him a small fortune to go to Billericay! I think the 5/1 is still value and worth taking.
Dave Tarpey to be National League topscorer 1pt