THE FA Cup 1st Round gets underway this weekend and Jack Lambden (@_JackL_) has dug deep into Sunday's showdowns to share his best bets.
Chippenham v Northampton | Sunday 10th November 2019, 12:45
Northampton boss Keith Curle has stated that his side’s mentality for this cup tie against opposition two leagues below the Cobblers will not change as his men look to translate a good run of form in the League to the FA Cup.
2019/20 represents Chippenham’s third season in the National League South following their record breaking points tally helped them win promotion from the Southern Premier League in 2017. Although Hardenhuish Park is not the most modern of grounds at this level, the pitch is well looked after and has only seen one first team match played on it in the past month so should hold up well for this game which can only benefit the League Two side.
Chippenham’s start to the season has been inconsistent at best, currently sitting 14th in the table as draws hold the team back from progressing up the league. The 1.93 average goals per-game for the Bluebirds is the lowest by some distance in their division as they possess the league’s best defence but also one of the least potent attacks with just 15 goals scored in 15 encounters.
Given Northampton’s recent results (four wins from six) and the fact that only one of the collective 32 league games these two sides have played this season has seen more than four4 goals, the away side to win and Under 4.5 Goals looks a nice selection at 6/5 with Coral.
Hayes & Yeading v Oxford United | Sunday 10th November 2019, 14:15 | BT Sport
Having demolished West Ham 4-0, Lincoln 6-0 and recorded four separate 3-0 wins in the last two months, Oxford will be full of confidence when they make the short trip along the M40 to the SKYEx Community Stadium.
Karl Robinson’s side have gone from a side lacking spark during a poor start to the League One season to the division’s form team, silencing any fans that were calling for the Scouser’s head at the end of August. That aforementioned hammering of Lincoln start a run of results which has pushed the club up to third in the table and 27 goals in 10 games would be about the same total most teams would rack up across double the amount of games.
Oxford have a few injuries to contend with coming in to the tie but the core of the squad will be fit and ready to take on a team fifth from bottom in the Southern Premier League South and the U’s are boosted by the likely return of Rob Hall and Josh Ruffels, both of whom have been key at the start of the campaign.
The last time Oxford faced an away trip to a non-league club in this round at Merstham Town in 2016 (notably at the same level as Sunday’s opponents) they came away 5-0 winners with much of the current squad playing a part that day.
Given Oxford’s recent form and the gap between the opponents, I think the 17/20 (again with Coral) on Oxford half-time/full-time represents some value when you factor in that Robinson’s men are fast starters – sitting top of the League One first half table.
I think Sunday’s game, which will be Hayes’ eighth match in this season’s FA Cup, may just be one game too far for the part-timers.