Just 1 goal away from a clean sweep last weekend on the Both Teams to Score treble and this weekend I’m determined to go 1 better as we have plenty of fixtures to take a gander at. Keep calm and pray for goals…
Port Vale v Crewe
Very rarely do I back my own team, and very rarely do I back a local derby, but this weekend I’ve decided to do both as my boys Port Vale host Crewe at Vale Park.
This has been a derby in which Crewe have thrived over recent years and it normally comes with a few goals too. Vale have won only 1 meeting between the two clubs since the two were promoted to League One but 7 of the last 9 derbies and 4 of the last 5 here at Vale Park have resulted in both teams finding the net.
As a Vale fan, I’ve had to accept that what was a remote dream of playoff glory is all but over now after a poor run of form. Our stunning home form has come crashing to the ground with back to back losses by an aggregate 0-5 scoreline and a 4-2 loss at Chesterfield last weekend after a 2nd half collapse pretty much put a nail in the proverbial coffin. Despite the poor goalscoring form at home recently though, the two losses came against strong sides and I’m confident we’ll hit the net this weekend against a Crewe side who look destined for League Two.
It would be pretty cruel and slightly embarrassing though if Vale were the ones to send Crewe down on Saturday, so I don’t expect them to travel to Vale Park and not put in the effort. They’ve actually scored more away goals this season than 4 of the 5 teams above them and have scored in 7 of their last 10 on the road. The problem however is that they have conceded in 17/20 away from home this season, and I’d expect that to continue on Saturday against their local rivals.
Northampton v Bristol Rovers
1st vs 3rd in League Two would normally be a huge game at this time of the season, but given that Northampton pretty much have the title done and dusted, it doesn’t have the same tense feeling about it as it should.
Northampton seem to have taken their foot off the pedal a bit recently with back to back 2-2 draws against Mansfield and Notts County, but they can still score goals when they want to. You have to remember that they have failed to score just once here at home this season, and although this game may mean more to Bristol Rovers, the title is yet to be confirmed so I think they’ll still want to find the net here.
For Bristol Rovers who although sit 3rd only maintain that position by virtue of their superior goal difference, this really is an important game. Failure to pick up 3 points here could result in them playing catch up with the likes of Oxford, Plymouth and Accrington so there’s no doubt they’ll be looking to take something away from Sixfields.
When the two met earlier this season it finished 0-1 to Northampton, but given the current position of the two sides I feel this has all the making of a decent game.
Fulham v Cardiff
After securing consecutive wins against MK Dons and Preston, Fulham look to be planning a late great escape from relegation to League One and now sit 7 points clear of the drop. And though it may be difficult to build on those results against a playoff chasing Cardiff side, they should certainly give it a go if past results are anything to go by.
Fulham have won back to back games for the first time since October, yet the problem still remains that they cannot keep a clean sheet to save their lives. Both of their recent wins came by 2-1 scorelines and they have just 1 clean sheet in their last 20 league games. Their last 6 games in a row have all resulted in both teams finding the net and I see that becoming 8 this weekend.
Cardiff are not necessarily a side full of goals, but they can surely capitalise on this weak defence and with only 5 clean sheets in 20 away games this season, I really can’t see them escaping with a clean sheet.
When the two met earlier this season it finished all square in a 1-1 draw and you have to go back as far as 1961 to find the last meeting between the two here at Craven Cottage where either side kept a clean sheet. With those stats, I just can’t turn down the inclusion of this one.