Ammies have momentum to see off doomed Latics
Oldham 3.9 v Salford 2.1211/10; the draw 3.613/5
Both sides are in the final throes of their season’s challenges, but Salford’s has suddenly become more acute than their opponents, who look doomed. Oldham are highly unlikely to stay up now, being four points behind Stevenage and Barrow. They could be relegated this weekend.
Having lost to Northampton and Forest Green over Easter and Port Vale before that, it is extremely unlikely that Oldham boss John Sheridan can inspire a miracle and achieve three straight wins that would give the Latics any chance of staying up. It is telling, as Opta point out, that Oldham have not only lost nine of their last 11 games but 24 in total this season, last losing more (26) in 1959-60.
In Salford, Oldham are up against a side that need to make up three points to the play-off places and don’t have a game in hand, like Mansfield and Sutton.
Oldham are already without captain Carl Piergianni but at least in the defeat to Port Vale the Lancashire side scored twice, including David Keillor-Dunn netting on the stroke of half-time. Goals from Christopher Missilou and Will Sutton, plus others, have been too few and far between.
Away manager Gary Bowyer’s men are short enough to win, but have the momentum to do so – even if they have lost their past two away games. Those are forgivable losses when considering this match, being to promoting hunting Bristol Rovers and Port Vale. They did not score in those games, either.
A draw on Monday with Barrow might not seem that promising either, Ryan Watson opening the scoring and Ian Henderson levelling at the end. Bowyer needs Matt Smith and Brandon Thomas-Asante to contribute and help the Ammies to score twice per game again. They have done so six times in eight matches.
Clean sheet specialists to be held to draw
Leyton Orient 3.185/40 v Northampton 2.915/8; the draw 3.185/40
At this stage of the season form is everything for a side which wants promotion. And so is the ability to keep clean sheets. Northampton have four in five games. Opta stress they have three in a row and have notched 21 for the season, last bettering that in 2005-06. They also have a defeat to Mansfield recently – conceding the only goal of those past quintet of matches.
Louis Appere is suddenly making a name for himself having signed from Dundee United on January transfer deadline day. Scoring in successive games have come just at the right time, when Northampton have slipped out of the top three after one point from the previous two games.
Sam Hoskins and Mitch Pinnock haven’t scored quite regularly enough to make the Cobblers promotion certainties.
Leyton Orient could hold them up a little bit further. Getting past Jon Guthrie and Fraser Horsfall at the heart of the Northampton defence will not be easy. However, Ruel Sotiriou, Paul Smyth and Harry Smith seem to be in no mood to let the season finish on a damp note. Victories over Swindon and Scunthorpe gave them six points over Easter. Four games unbeaten at home is not a record to give up lightly, turning round a mini bad run beforehand.
A draw could ensue as the sides even each other out. Check out the Opta stats.
Since Richie Wellens arrived, Orient have only lost twice in 10 (winning six) picking up 20 points. In that time, only Exeter can match that and Port Vale better it, with 25.
Combine that and their home record they will not wish to diminish with the visitors’ clean sheets and we have a recipe for a stalemate. The layers recognise the chances, making the draw as short as 3.185/40.
Carlisle to scatter Sulphurites
Harrogate 2.56/4 v Carlisle 3.185/40; the draw 3.55/2
It would be unfair to call Harrogate whipping boys, but they have been losing regularly. That almost applies to Scunthorpe but not quite. But had the season started 10 games ago the Iron would have two points and the Sulphurites just four.
Simon Weaver’s hosts have conceded 11 goals in four matches and two or more in eight of their past 10 games, including four out of their last five at home. The only game in which they conceded less was in a 1-1 draw with Tranmere. Defeating Scunthorpe has been their only success.
Weaver hinted this week at wholesale changes in the summer, saying that a team largely recruited in the Conference North for two promotions has run its cycle. So could striker Jack Muldoon for example be on his way, having scored 54 goals in 140+ starts over the past few years? Jack Diamond, a younger and more recent recruit, should look on those comments as now is the time to play for his future but might survive a cull, with Luke Armstrong. Both are in double figures for goals this season.
The hosts have scored just seven goals in 10 games, three of them against Scunthorpe. Weaver knows results – and arguably skills – have not been good enough in the last two thirds of the season. Relegation has not been a threat, but it could have been had their second season slump started a game or two even earlier.
Carlisle might just be in better condition. Under new boss Paul Simpson they won six from their first seven but have tailed off since. A draw was the best they achieved in the next four games (failing to score in three of them) before a shock victory over Mansfield on Monday, Omari Patrick stunning the Stags with his ninth of the season.
Simpson is also talking about recruitment – and securing his position longer term. Midfield is key. Jon Mellish, a midfielder who scored a lot of goals last season, has now been pushed back into defence again, replacing Rod McDonald. Tobi Sho-Silva has netted four times since arriving from Sutton in January and might fancy his chances again here. Both sides will. But the visitors might just have that little bit extra winning feeling in the memory banks to draw on.
Back over 2.5 goals as Swindon look for win
Hartlepool 3.9 v Swindon 2.111/10; the draw 3.613/5
Would you – could you – trust Swindon to get the away win they need to maintain their play-off hopes? The layers are fearful of such a result, making Ben Garner’s side 2.111/10 to win. That’s the territory of making them short because they have to win. It’s not quite a true reflection of their chances on current form.
The Robins needed to have performed better away at Crawley (losing 3-1) and Rochdale (0-0) if they were going to challenge for a top seven place. They have also lost at home to Leyton Orient and Newport in the past couple of weeks. They beat Harrogate (on Good Friday) but then who hasn’t recently?
Without injured Harry McKirdy supplying as well as scoring, the Wiltshire side have not been able to maintain a promising push, despite Charlton loanee Josh Davison’s best efforts, scoring in three of the past four games.
Hartlepool are not in the best of touch, conceding in each of their past eight games and winning only once. Omar Bogle and Luke Molyneux have done their best to keep Graeme Lee’s side in goals.
Even Byrn Morris has netted his first of the season from midfield. After their FA Cup exit at Crystal Palace in early February, the Pools looked like they could push on for the play-offs themselves, winning four and drawing one of their next five. However it has all gone south for them since.
Both teams to score doesn’t quite tempt because the hosts have drawn a number of blanks in recent weeks. Although it could well play out that way to make my actual tip work. (Both teams to score is more or less evens in any case, so a worse price than the away win). But with Hartlepool’s last six matches featuring 14 goals (10 against) and Swindon’s 16, that’s bang on the average of 2.5 goals. A bet on over 2.5 goals is therefore the tempting selection at 2.26/5.