The National League very rarely disappoints and once again we’re set for a blockbuster end up the campaign in the top-tier of English non-league football. It would be fair to say that we have a two-horse race at the top of proceedings with Wrexham and Notts County battling away to regain English Football League status, whilst Dagenham & Redbridge are one of several teams hoping to contest the end of season play-offs, of which six teams will be present.
Of course, you can’t mention Wrexham these days without immediately following it with words such as ‘Hollywood’, ‘Reynolds’, ‘McElhenney’ or just the simple ‘money’, but those tags comes with its own additional pressures, and every game they have played this season and will continue to play is very much a cup final for the opposition. Dropping points away to mid-table but albeit in-form Maidenhead United at the weekend, after conceding a last-minute equaliser to draw 2-2, is yet another reminder of this and that no game will be easy if they indeed to return to the EFL for the first time since relegation in 2008.
Like so many in this league, many are associated from their time spent in the league(s) above the one they currently occupy. Dag & Red themselves were a regular fixture between 2007 and 2016, even plying their trade in League One, and with this being their seventh consecutive campaign back at this level they’ll be particularly keen to get back up as soon as possible, which is, of course, easier said than done.
Trying to beat Wrexham is easier said than done as well, especially with the Welsh outfit losing only two league contests this season. They also despatched Dagenham 4-1 in the last head-to-head contest back in September. Scoring goals remains no problem for them as they’re again locked with Notts County on 90 league goals, but there is still a degree of vulnerability about them defensively of late. Only Sheffield United has defeated them inside 90 minutes across their last 21 matches, but only four clean sheets were earned in this period. Furthermore, 17 saw both teams score and 18 feature at least three goals. Also, Dag & Red’s games do like a goal or two, and numbers such as seven of their past eight including BTTS and Over 2.5, then this game suggests goals should be present.
I can’t ignore quotes of 20/21 from Bet365 on Both Teams to Score and Over 2.5 Goals. I suspect those odds could and should shorten.
We’ll conclude our look at Tuesday's action with another dip into the National League as we have a full card of action taking place and plenty of solid betting opportunities. Yeovil versus Eastleigh may not catch the eyes of many but there is plenty to play for at Huish Park with promotion hopes and relegation fears firmly on the line.
Yeovil are indeed another club at this level that has a proud EFL history to its name in recent times, but that is very much a thing of the past and almost feels a lifetime away given their current struggles. They were playing in the Championship as recently as 2014, but that memorable season was backed up by another immediate relegation and then another some four years later. The club has been on a downward curve ever since and they sit just one point above the relegation zone today, with National League South football next season a real possibility.
Mark Cooper has been at the helm since October and recently spoke of the financial problems the club currently face and having only recently been able to add a physio to their ranks, it is just the stark reality that clubs can face at this level. Cooper also acknowledged that whilst the fans don’t lack in effort, quality isn’t in big supply and neither are options full stop. A run of seven without a win has dragged them closer to trouble, whilst one home victory since the start of December is further damaging their survival hopes.
Eastleigh are probably one of the last teams they’d want to be facing right now. Whereas Yeovil sit bottom of the current five-game form table, Eastleigh’s results in that time can only be bettered by Wrexham. Certainly one of the main reasons Lee Bradbury’s side are on an impressive run of late is their strong defensive unit, which has overseen six clean sheets in their previous eight matches, and one of those non-shutouts came in a cup competition. Just Southend United have more this season.
In recent times, Eastleigh themselves did have a sizeable budget to their name as they looked to chase the EFL dream, but those days are a thing of the past now, and Bradbury is having to cut his cloth accordingly to try and build a side capable of challenging, and he’s definitely managed to do that. 11 games on their season remaining and they currently possess one of those precious play-off positions, and they’ll expect to return from their midweek trip to Huish Park at least extending their unbeaten streak to seven.
The Over 2.5 ‘league table’ in the National League this season places both Yeovil and Eastleigh inside the bottom four, suggesting that goals aren’t the instant thought when pondering over betting selections for this one. With Eastleigh’s mentioned clean sheet qualities, combined with the fact Yeovil have a joint-league high of 12 occasions when failing to score to their name, it suggests the away side should be coming away with something, in what should still be a tight encounter despite the contrast in form between the two.
These midweek games at this level can often bring about some low-scoring affairs and I suspect that’ll be the case here, but we can’t possibly get Yeovil on side given their struggles. I really like the look of Eastleigh Double Chance and Under 3 Goals priced at 11/10 with Bet365. Eastleigh are on a four-game winning run away from home, including notable scalps at Southend and Dag & Red. Those winning run can side so I’ll cautiously keep the draw on side with double chance, plus Yeovil have drew three of their last five in front of their own supporters.