By Jeff Brazier
Another 40 goals in 9 games on Tuesday night is yet another indicator that the Vanarama National League is going to be non-stop entertainment this season, but we have some games coming up that promise to deliver even more.
For starters we have some red-hot goal scorers in the 5th tier, which is hardly surprising given the number of goals were seeing hitting the net. Kabongo Tshimanga (Chesterfield) and Billy Waters (Halifax) have now hit 6 in 6 and Solihull’s Joe Sbarra has hit 6 in just the 5 outings! Here are my thoughts on the forthcoming fixtures.
Bromley v Barnet
Bromley are not far off where they want to be. I really liked a young Harry Forster and Cheek is banging them in again, but I watched them play Boreham Wood and they got done on the break too easily or they’d have at least drawn that game but bear in mind if it wasn’t for Ashmore’s save from Whitely at 2-2, they may have taken all 3.
Barnet are showing glimmers but haven’t managed to stay in games to the end suffering a last-minute winner v Grimsby when down to 10 men and running out of steam against Chesterfield last time out having worked hard to go into the break level. Draws against Eastleigh and Solihull will make them feel like their first win could come at any time. Let's face it the 4 defeats came against the division’s top teams!
Barnet have conceded 9 in 3 on the road. Bromley win.
FC Halifax v Stockport
After a disappointing performance against Yeovil and the manager Pete Wild being sent to the stands a 2-2 draw for Halifax against unbeaten Boreham Wood (without the manager in the dugout) would have been a pleasing reaction.
Apparently Billy Waters can do no wrong right now – 6 in 6 is certainly proof. I’d say it's a good time to play Stockport. Have they really turned a corner or were they fortunate to end up playing against 9 men that would inevitably gift them that much needed win? They haven’t conceded on the road so let's see if Waters can do something about that.
Stockport looked like they found a rhythm on Tuesday night. I think they’ll turn up and win.
Grimsby v Eastleigh
3 straight wins and a perfect home record means there’s lots to like about Grimsby Town. One of our 5 unbeaten sides they’ll go into this full of confidence. Their opponents Eastleigh will have just given theirs a boost with that emphatic 4-1 win over Dover, with all of the damage coming in the first half.
Watching the highlights from the Wrexham win you can’t not love two people. Mcatee for his infectious work rate in chasing everything like his life depended on it and the special match day commentator who is clearly besotted with his side this season. Loved their 3rd goal, Max Wright running from his own half and rounding the keeper, you don’t see many of those these days.
Grimsby make it 4 straight wins at home and give more reason for the commentator to purr.
Notts County v Maidenhead I’m sure I've seen this from Maidenhead before, they win their opening two and then subsequently lose the following 3? Ok it was a valiant effort to get the score back to 4-3 v Torquay and Weymouth we know are no idiots, but I've watched both sendings off and whatever Remy Clerima was adjudged to have done when defending a free kick has killed them.
Stockport’s second from Alex Reid appeared to be weak from goalkeeper James Holden and then he has let down his side again by getting sent off by not being brave and/or decisive enough with a clearance. Notts County are unbeaten winning 3 and drawing 3. Kyle Wootton has rediscovered his shooting boots and all is well under Ian Burchnall.
It’s 3 straight defeats for Maidenhead and I see this being a 4th. Notts County win.
Solihull v Boreham Wood
What a game in prospect! Joe Sbarra is red hot despite Solihull only winning their last 2 of their opening 5. Their only loss came against Weymouth in a 4-3 classic, but Boreham Wood come into this game with the perfect away record, unbeaten and full of determination to stay with the leading pack.
Back-to-back wins for the hosts but Boreham Wood do enough to take a point. Draw
Torquay v Southend
Where to start with Torquay? Unusually it’s their defensive errors that are costing them and the partnering of Joe Lewis and Ali Omar has not replaced what they had in Kyle Cameron. Keeper Mark Halstead is said to be lacking confidence which would explain why he was substituted at half time after being beaten at his near post. One incident like that wouldn’t be enough to warrant that so it must have been the last straw for Gary Johnson unless of course injury is to blame.
The strike partnership of Dan Holman and Danny Wright has also been questioned for being too similar to one another and how one would be better playing with someone with pace rather than playing together? Lots for Gary Johnson to work out.
I thought Southend would kick on having watched them narrowly miss out against Stockport, but it’s been the opposite with two draws and two defeats leaving the Kings Lynn win on the opening day their only cause for celebration so far.
Everything seems a bit wobbly at Plainmoor so I’m going for Southend to get a win.
Wealdstone v Aldershot
I haven’t seen either side yet, but I always have faith in Danny Searle’s ability to improve a player and a team so after 5 straight defeats the win v Southend and the performance as a whole will have them looking forward to this one. Corie Andrews looks like a good signing, he’s got 3 already.
Wealdstone lost to Notts County at Meadow Lane but if it wasn’t for the Kyle Cameron winner we’d be talking about them as unbeaten in 4 so we have to assume Wealdstone are capable of matching anyone especially with the committed support which I believe even the County faithful have been applauding on Twitter since. Josh Umerah has got 4 already, something to prove maybe having not featured for Torquay too often last season.
I think we get a draw a Grosvenor Vale.
Weymouth v Dover
I’ll be at this one for BT Sport and I can’t wait to see Brian Stock’s side play against a side they’re expected to beat, the first one they’ve had in what has been a particularly tough start playing several of the more fancied sides in the league. Again, if it wasn’t for Dagenham and their quality 2nd half display, we might be talking about Weymouth as a side unbeaten in 4.
You can’t write off Dover although there’s no denying they have struggled especially against Eastleigh letting in 4 before half time. There’s a side in there though or they wouldn’t be holding Chesterfield to a goalless draw. Hearing great things about 21 year old Omar Mussa who will face his old side Dover who he played 8 games for before they ended their season.
I’m convinced Weymouth are much better than people think so a home win.
Wrexham v Dagenham
This one’s straightforward, the team we expected to be at the top versus the team that looks most likely to continue its run at the top. Dagenham are no surprise, they ended last season in great form and changed very little during the summer so it’s a settled side but one that has an injury or two so when the likes of Angelo Balanta come back they’re only going to improve.
Wrexham have just lost their first game to Grimsby in front of 7000 at Blundell Park and this will be their 3rd game at the Racecourse. The home fans have only seen them score two goals there so they’ll be keen to see Mullin and Hyde deliver on Saturday but Dagenham have won all 3 on the road so far.
I think it’s too close to call so I’ll opt for a draw.
Yeovil v Chesterfield
Wasn’t sure what to expect from Yeovil but they looked convincing enough against Halifax and they’ve built on those back-to-back wins with a 3rd, the 3-0 victory over Stockport. You can’t just call them a powerful side this year, they can play too.
Chesterfield will see this as their toughest task yet, with the exception of Bromley who they were admittedly beating until the 96th minute, the other opponents would have been games they were expected to win based on their strong finish last year and summer signings, namely Kabongo Tshimanga who as we know is on 6 in 6. Quigley will be keen to go one better than his early golden boot rival on the day, but Chesterfield haven’t conceded on the road in 3.
I fancy Yeovil.
Grimsby (3) and Altrincham (1) are the only teams with perfect home records.
Dagenham are top scorers on 10 at the Chigwell Construction Stadium
Torquay have the worst defence at home conceding 10 in 3.
Southend, Stockport and Torquay are 3 sides you’ll be surprised to hear haven’t yet won at home in 3 attempts.
Dagenham (3), Boreham Wood (3) Yeovil (2) and Solihull (1) are all perfect so far on the road
Stockport and Chesterfield haven’t conceded on the road in 3 games.
Barnet and Dover have both conceded 9 in 3 games.
Dagenham are outscoring everyone with 17.
Torquay have conceded 16 beaten only by Barnet who have shipped 17.
Barnet and Dover are looking for their first wins.
5 sides remain unbeaten, Dagenham, Chesterfield, Boreham Wood, Grimsby and Notts County.
Eastleigh and Aldershot just ended runs without a win both gaining their first 3 points Tuesday night. Stockport hadn’t won in their previous 3 either until they finished off 9 man Maidenhead.
Maidenhead are on the worst consecutive run of form, losing their last 3 games straight.
Yeovil and Grimsby are on the best consecutive run of form both winning their last 3 games straight.