NON-LEAGUE experts Kiss The Badge (@TheKissTheBadge) began their National League coverage with a midweek winner. The guys are back to preside over Saturday's action from the fifth tier.
Woking v Harrogate | Saturday 10th August 2019, 15:00
Second-place Harrogate go into this fixture looking to make it seven points out of a possible nine against recently promoted Woking.
Woking started life back in the National League in jubilant fashion, winning 2-0 away at Dagenham & Redbridge. However, the Cards’ derby match at home to Aldershot was the polar opposite, with the team falling to a 1-0 defeat.
Manager Alan Dowson was a frustrated figure post-Aldershot, suggesting he was considering whether to play with four at the back before the game. Consequently, we might see a change of shape this weekend, making this match harder to predict. Nevertheless, even with their 3-5-2 formation, Woking should have beaten Aldershot so a change of shape might not be the be-all and end-all.
Harrogate should take advantage of this pondering and frustration. Following a sloppy 2-2 opening day draw against Solihull Moors, they blew Barrow away 3-0 in midweek. Rallying against Barrow’s early pressure, Town put them to the sword and this efficiency in front of goal could be costly for Woking.
Woking’s aerial threat against Dagenham, particularly through Jake Hyde, Manny Parry and Moussa Diarra, was a sight to behold but Harrogate will be an equal match for them in our eyes, so part of Dowson’s arsenal will be severely hampered against a well-rounded visiting side.
Wanting to rectify their midweek result in front of their fans on Saturday, the Cards will be out to prove a point, but Harrogate’s early fine form sees their 7/5 price to win with SkyBet a good value bet.
Barrow v Eastleigh | Saturday 10th August 2019, 15:00
Barrow are one of three sides yet to pick up a point so far this season and boss Ian Evatt is looking to change that this weekend. Yet, Eastleigh are likely to stop this from happening.
As previously mentioned, a 3-0 loss to Harrogate led to Evatt saying to the club’s website: “It’s not good enough, the results are not good enough. They’ve had three set-pieces and scored three goals and there's clearly a common denominator. Conceding five goals in two games with four from set-pieces isn’t good enough.”
That mix of conceding from set-pieces is not going to bode well against an Eastleigh side full of height. Evatt wants a centre-back because he believes, “a physical presence in the Bluebirds line-up is lacking” so the Spireites will be looking forward to some aerial battles.
Reda Johnson netted from a set-piece on the opening day against Notts County and several chances came and went against Yeovil from dead ball scenarios. Johnson, Alex Wynter, Tyrone Barnett and Scott Rendell (who has come off the bench twice) will provide a constant threat in both boxes.
Therefore, with a Barrow side very much out of form and vulnerable to deliveries into the box, expect Eastleigh to pump balls forward at every possible scenario to targetman Barnett and possibly Rendell if he comes off the bench.
Not considered favourites, Eastleigh are priced at 21/10 for the win with BetVictor but a smarter selection could be found with Paddy Power, who are offering 23/10 for Strevens’ men to keep a clean sheet. Having only conceded once in two matches, and Barrow only managing to net once themselves, Eastleigh could quite easily keep their hosts out across the 90 minutes.
Notts County v Barnet | Saturday 10th August 2019, 17:30 | BT Sport
For our third and final match preview, we expect another win for the away side. Saturday’s live match on BT Sport sees former Football League sides Notts County and Barnet go head-to-head at Meadow Lane.
Having recently been bought by new owners, County’s transfer embargo has thankfully been lifted. Neal Ardley made six signings in just one day prior to the season starting and midfielder Jim O’Brien has said the new look squad is now having to gel together, something their opponents will be looking to exploit.
Picking up a point against Stockport on Tuesday night – their first point of the season – the Magpies will face a relatively in-form Barnet side come Saturday evening. The Bees have picked up a win and a draw in their opening two games, with a 1-1 stalemate at Sutton feeling like two points dropped according to head coach Darren Currie.
County have lost last season’s top goalscorer Kane Hemmings to Dundee this week but experienced forward Kristian Dennis is in contention to make his first appearance of the season.
Yet even with this boost in terms of injury updates, Barnet for us are favourites to win. Ricardo Santos, who missed Tuesday night’s match, should be brought back to the fold but if he isn’t, Harry Taylor can continue to step in as he did on Tuesday night against Sutton.
The North London side are stubborn at the back and just need to add some extra firepower up top, having relied on two Simeon Akinola penalties to get them their goals. Mason-Clark started on Tuesday and is likely to again whilst Shaquile Coulthirst (who has come off the bench twice), is looking to start this game.
Netting 15 times last season, Coulthirst could be the man to put home chances and get Barnet firing on all cylinders. If Currie decides to stick with Akinola upfront, then his pace against two centre-backs in the form of Sam Graham and Connell Rawlinson, who Ardley has said need more time to get match fit, could still prove a handful.
Therefore, with a County side in search of their first three points, in front of the TV cameras, Barnet will be aiming to continue the Magpies’ tough start to life in the National League. The Bees’ resilience at the back will frustrate the Nottinghamshire side and looking to hit County on the counter-attack, Shaquile’s clinical ability is likely to be the difference if he starts. Barnet to win at 27/10 with BetVictor is an intriguing bet.
Woking v Harrogate – Harrogate to win (7/5 SkyBet)
Barrow v Eastleigh – Eastleigh to keep a clean sheet (23/10 Paddy Power)
Notts County v Barnet – Barnet to win (27/10 BetVictor)