Leg 1 – AFC Fylde vs Leek Town @ 4/11
We start our day up in the North West, where bottom-of-the-table AFC Fylde of the National League, take on a Leek Town side of the Northern Premier Division West.
This will be one of the biggest games in the history of the Staffordshire club. They haven’t reached the first round proper since 1990 and the victory over South Shields to get them to this game, was broadcast live on the BBC Sport Website, Red Button and iPlayer. 825 people were in attendance that day and many of them are expected to make the trip on Saturday.
The home side have been regulars in BTTS/Over 2.5 columns so far this season, due in large part to the fact they’ve conceded 35 goals in just 15 games. We’ve often seen in cup matches sides from lower-leagues scoring early on the road, against sides from higher-up the football pyramid.
I like Leek’s chances to give the home side a real fright. They even scored five last week on the road at Stalybridge to warm-up for this game. This looks like a high-scorer.
Leg 2 – Aldershot Town vs Lewes @ 8/13
Back to one of my old stomping grounds of Aldershot next up and when I left the town back in 2009, they were mired in the National League. Not much has changed and I bet they still have the advertising board for the greasy spoon I used to lunch in, hanging behind the goal towards the road. I digress.
Another season of dreams of promotion back to the Football League are still just about on but a nice run in the Cup would also be good for the coffers. Games involving the home side are averaging 3.5 goals every 90 minutes, which is a good stat for us here. Hopefully Lewes look as good on that front…
*checks Lewes results*
Lewes have gone over 2.5 in no fewer than 11 straight games in all competitions. They have hit the mark in every game bar their opener at home to Cray Wanderers. With both sides more than capable of both scoring and conceding, this feels like an obvious leg to throw into this accumulator.
Leg 3 – Aveley vs Barnet @ 1/2
Aveley have been one of the success stories of non-league football on the south coast in recent years and they are now plying their trade at National League South level, following back-to-back promotions.
It has been over 50 years since the Essex club last made the first-round proper and they won’t have it easy as high-flying National League side Barnet are making the short trip down from West London. The Bees are actually tracking to beat Wrexham’s points haul from a year ago.
Anytime a team faces one of the biggest games in their history in the cup, one of two things usually happens. Either they get thumped by the team with better players or they play above themselves to make it a real tussle. In both of those situations, goals are the outcome.
Leg 4 – Bracknell Town vs Dagenham & Redbridge @ 8/11
Next up, is another game where a Conference side are facing lower-league opposition, that is quite clearly the theme of this article and this time it is Dagenham & Redbridge taking on Southern League South mid-table side Bracknell Town.
This is the tie that will be shown live on the BBC Sport website, Red Button and via iPlayer.
The visitors are struggling in the top-tier of the non-league pyramid and haven’t won a game since beating bottom side AFC Fylde back at the start of September. They come into this game in hopeless form and that is probably why the Beeb are setting up shop at Bottom Meadow on Saturday. An upset could well be on the cards.
However, it isn’t like the Robins are in tremendous form themselves, seeing as they’ve lost three of their past five in the league, leaving them sitting in mid-table. What we’ve seen from them so far in the qualification campaign though is over 2.5 in all three as 0-3, 3-1 and 1-2 victories got them to this point.
I’ll be honest with you, this feels like the weakest game of the seven I’ve selected but this is a gut feel play based on the game giving both sides absolute freedom and a bit of a free-hit.
Playing in front of the TV cameras will be both exciting and give players a chance to put themselves in the shop window for 15 minutes of fame but it could also bring the nerves. Nerves often lead to mistakes and they often lead to goals.
Leg 5 – Chesterfield vs Kettering Town @ 4/9
On paper, this is the biggest mismatch of the seven as league leaders of the National League, Chesterfield, welcome a side sitting 20th in the Southern League Central Division in Kettering Town.
All logic points to the home side just giving the visitors an absolute pasting. The Spireites are the top scorers in the Conference and if they are above Barnet, clearly they too, are tracking ahead of where Wrexham were a year ago through 15 games. Not bad going that.
With it being a cup game and with Kettering having nothing to lose, they’ll no doubt come out and have a real go to see if they can get something from this game. Looking at their FA Cup record so far this season doesn’t look good though, three 1-0 wins on the spin but Chesterfield are a completely different animal. 3 or 4-1 feels about right.
Leg 6 – Hemel Hempstead vs Woking @ 1/2
Woking have been one of the worst teams for Over 2.5 in the National League, with the bet coming in just five times through 15 games. On Saturday though, they get the chance to take on lower-league opposition as they travel to Hertfordshire to take on a National League South side, in their fourth qualifying round tie.
Backing games involving the Cards to hit this mark therefore has clearly not been a profitable strategy but when you look at Hemel Hempstead’s recent form in front of goal, interest starts to pique.
Brad Quinton’s side have hit the back of the net 11 times in their past four games. That is the type of attacking play we are looking for.
Clearly this game is a step-up in class for the National League South side but they have really started to turn their season around and a run at the play-offs seems far more realistic than it did a few weeks back. Woking have lost four of their past five, so they should enjoy the freedom of a cup game to try and get their mojo back.
I reckon this will be a good game and goals could well flow.
Leg 7 – Solihull Moors vs Biggleswade Town @ 1/2
Of the three teams playing in Biggleswade, a market town in Bedfordshire with an estimated population of just under 22,000, this is certainly not the most famous. Unlike United, they do not have an owner who is a well-known Spanish football journalist
This lot play in the Southern League Division One Central and despite their lowly position in the table, that is in large-part due to a series of postponements that has meant they’ve only played four times so far. In those four games, 16 goals have been scored. That is the type of stat I can get behind for an Over 2.5 Tips article.
In addition, here are their results in FA Cup qualifiers so far this season, 5-1, 3-3, 3-1 and 3-1. Nice.
Obviously Saturday is quite the step-up in class and they take on third in the National League, Solihull Moors. Making the first round proper for just the second time in the clubs history is going to be a tall task but they have been prolific in front of goal and should be good to trouble the scorers. A tight 1 or 2-0 win just doesn’t feel right, either the visitors get blown out or this is a thriller.