National League: Shot-shy Dragons to be opposed


NON-LEAGUE expert Paul Maddison (@LouthBigDog) shares his favourite fancies from Saturday afternoon's National League coupon.

Harrogate v Hartlepool | Saturday 19th January 2019, 12:35 | BT Sport

The BT Sport cameras head to Wetherby Road for the lunchtime kick-off in what I fancy to be a decent game, despite the form of both of these sides.

After a great start to the season, Harrogate have started to drop off a little. They are now 10 points off the pace having picked up just one point in their last five league games.

One area the Yorkshire-based club haven't struggled, is in front of goal. In 29 games they have netted 54 goals, second only to Salford, and even though their form has dipped they have still managed to get on the scoresheet in 14 of their last 15 fixtures in all competitions.

The problem for Simon Weaver’s men has been at the opposite end of the pitch where they have conceded 39 times already – only seven teams in the division have leaked more. You have to go back 17 games to the middle of October to find the last time the Sulphurites shut out their opponents.

Hartlepool have also been struggling of late, with just three wins in 17 matches in all competitions, but like their opponents they have been scoring goals regularly. The Monkey Hangers have now gone 13 games without failing to score and have netted in all seven matches that have been overseen by former Cambridge boss Richard Money, since he took over the reins in December.

My fancy here is Both Teams To Score, which is available at 4/5 with Bet365. The bet would have landed in 14 of the last 15 Harrogate games and 11 of the last 13 Hartlepool matches.

AFC Fylde v Wrexham | Saturday 19th January 2019, 15:00

Fifth-placed Fylde are taking on fourth-placed Wrexham as two of the division’s best defences meet in a game I expect to be tight.

Fylde haven't hit the form they would have liked to this season yet as they sit seven points behind leaders Leyton Orient. Their performances at Mill Farm have been impressive though, picking up 30 points in their 14 home fixtures. The Coasters have won eight of their last 12 in front of their own fans, keeping seven clean sheets in that time.

Dave Challinor has strengthened his squad in both boxes with the signings of Norwich defender Timi Odusina and striker Dan Bradley has also returned to the club.

Wrexham's form has taken a turn since the New Year – the Welsh outfit have lost all four of their encounters in 2019, failing to score in each.

It was a lack of firepower that cost the Dragons a decent shot at promotion last season and it looks like history could be repeating itself this term. Wrexham side have scored just seven times in their last 14 on the road, including being shut out in each of their last five away days.

Manager Graham Barrow and assistant Mike Newell have bought in a couple of strikers to try and ease the problem but neither player has played a great deal of football this season so match fitness may be an issue, as well as taking time to settle in.

Betway are offering 23/20 for a home win, that's a price I like the look of.

Maidstone v Dagenham & Redbridge | Saturday 19th January 2019, 15:00

Maidstone would probably prefer to play every game away from home at the moment. Of the 25 points the Kent-based club have picked up, just six have come at their Gallagher Stadium base.

The Stones sit 23rd in the league, four points from safety, and will need to turn their form around quickly to avoid a return to the National League South after just two seasons.

Caretaker managers Tristan Lewis and Simon Walton oversaw a 4-2 home defeat in midweek against Maidenhead, which may have taken a lot out of the players who had to play over half the match with 10 men.

After a great run towards the end of last year, Dagenham & Redbridge have had a bit of a blip with no wins in their last four. That run has featured a tough run of fixtures though with visits to both Leyton Orient and Salford. Before that the Daggers had W9-D1-L1 from their previous 11 matches.

Peter Taylor’s visitors have been well backed this week with the price shortening quite a bit from their opening line, but I still think there's is a bit of value to be had and I'll be backing them -0.25 on the Asian Handicap at 113/100 with Marathon.

Best Bets

Harrogate v Hartlepool – Both Teams To Score (4/5 Bet365)

AFC Fylde v Wrexham – AFC Flyde to win (23/20 Betway)

Maidstone v Dagenham & Redbridge – Dagenham & Redbridge -0.25 Asian Handicap (113/100 Marathon)

About Author

I first got the taste for betting when I was quite young, every year I would pick a horse for the Grand National and my Dad would go to the bookies and put my £1 each way bet on. As soon as I could get away with it I was in the bookies every Saturday afternoon searching the football coupons and putting on stupidly big accas. Now enjoy betting mainly singles or small multiples, usually sticking to the English leagues. I don't favour any particular market, but rarely watch a game without having small first scorer bet for a bit of fun. I've got 3 boys which take up most of my time, but luckily they enjoy going to watch football and days at the races. I'm a life long Grimsby Town fan, one of a few that has seen some ups as well as all the downs.

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