Sunday Jan 22, 2012


Luton Town's five match winning run in the Blue Square Bet Premier came to an end in their extraordinary 3-3 draw at Southport on Saturday.
The Hatters hauled themselves into a 3-2 lead just after half-time having been two goals behind, but a free-kick that bounced back off keeper Kevin Pilkington's legs handed the home side a point.
Gary Brabin's team are back out to 8/1 for the title as the relentless form of Wrexham and Fleetwood sees those two with a 10 and 8 point gap respectively. That gap could be bigger at the time of kick-off in Luton's next league game which is at home to Mansfield Town on Wednesday.
The match is live on Premier Sports and will provide the home side with a chance to extend an unbeaten league run to 11 matches. That run of form has largely been achieved against sides outside of the top ten in the table.
In fact only the draw at Southport and a draw at Cambridge were games which could have been classed as pitching them against promotion rivals. The game at Southport on Saturday was Luton's eleventh against a top 10 team this season, of which they have won four, drawn three and lost four.
The reverse of this fixture at Field Mill resulted in a 1-1 draw and it's not inconceivable for Mansfield to leave Bedfordshire with at least a point, despite their inflated odds of 15/4 to win the game. That said, Paul Cox's side have a worse record when facing their promotion rivals.
Twelve games against their fellow top ten teams have produced just two wins for The Stags. Draw backers will be encouraged by five stalemates amongst those matches, but likewise there are five defeats. Mansfield will start the game on the back of two home wins, but have not won away in the league since late September. Aaron O'Connor has scored in Luton's last three league games and is 5/4 to score at anytime on the night against his former club. A repeat of the 1-1 draw from earlier in the season is priced at 13/2.

The BSBP top two are in action on Tuesday night when the rest of the midweek programme takes place.
Wrexham travel to The New Lawn to face Forest Green Rovers. An away win is odds-on at 5/6, the draw is a 23/10 chance and a win for Forest Green is priced at 3/1. Dave Hockaday's team have a poor home record with their four wins out of 14 coming against the teams in 16th, 17th, 21st and 24th in the table. They've played 11 games against teams above them in the table and have just one win at Southport to show for it.
Favourite backers should be wary of Wrexham's squad size and fatigue setting in after their FA Cup run and maybe a draw is a better call than another victory for Andy Morrell's team.
Fleetwood Town have failed when odds-on at home in the league five times out of the 13 matches. They are as short as 2/5 to win at home to Braintree Town. The Essex side may well pinpoint the reverse of this fixture as the start of their slump into mid-table. When the teams met on October 1 at Cressing Road Braintree started the game in second place and Fleetwood were just underneath them.
The quote for an away win of 6/1 reflects Braintree's current position of 13th in the table. Still a fantastic achievement for Alan Devonshire's men, but a long way off the promotion talk of the Autumn.

The game of the midweek takes place at Aggborough where fifth-placed Kidderminster Harriers host fourth-placed York City. The teams met just a few weeks ago at Bootham Crescent when Kidderminster were thoroughly deserving of the three points. Fourteen extra goals on a positive goal difference keep York one place above Steve Burr's team in the table, both having 52 points each.
With York just having one away win against top half sides and likewise Kidderminster just one home victory against teams from the same section, a draw could be best at 23/10. The result from the first game could tempt people to back Kidderminster at 7/5 with such a short space of time between the two matches.
ixth placed Gateshead know any result at Aggborough coupled with a win away at Kettering will see them back in the play-off spots. No prices will be quoted for this fixture.

Having played their part in some thrilling games this season, including that 3-3 with Luton, Southport boss Liam Watson could have the shortest fingernails amongst bosses in the league. Following the Sandgrounders home and away would be one of the best tickets in football at the moment - with goals, comebacks, red-cards and penaltys galore!
They are 13/10 favourites at Lincoln City, who were involved in their own 3-3 comeback at Gateshead on Saturday. The Imps are 7/4 for their first home win in the league since late November. Grimsby Town stretched their winning league run to six games on Saturday with a comprehensive win over bottom club Bath City.
Their match away at Barrow will be a real test of their play-off credentials. Their good form sees them quoted as the 7/5 favourites for an away win. Punters familiar with the league will know that Holker Street has been a graveyard for favourites over the last few seasons and the draw looks much better value at 5/2. With a home record that would put them second in the table the 6/4 for Barrow to win could also tempt a few to invest.
Elsewhere Darlington visit Hayes & Yeading United in another match in which prices will not be quoted.

Ebbsfleet United are the Evens favourites at home to Tamworth, who are a place behind them in the table but level on points with two games in hand.
his is a vital match for the away side who have not won in the league since late November. Marcus Law's team have conceded an average of three goals per game in their last six league matches, but plenty of changes at the Kent side in recent weeks gives them a little bit of hope of an away win at 9/4
Stockport entertain AFC Telford United at Edgeley Park knowing a three goal victory could lift them above the Bucks in the table. Jim Gannon's side are the 6/5 favourites to get what would be only their fifth win of the season. Telford arrive with just one win in eight matches and are 2/1 to get three vital points in the scrap for survival.
A win for Bath City at home to Alfreton Town would close the gap at the foot of the table, but I fancy Nicky Law's visitors to get something from their trip to Twerton Park. After games against Kidderminster and Grimsby this is a game against a fellow bottom half club, ones in which Alfreton have done ok of late. A draw looks best at 23/10.  

Alan's Best Bets for Luton v Mansfield:
Aaron O'Connor to score at anytime
1-1 Correct Score

Alan's Best Midweek Treble:
DRAW - Bath City v Alfreton Town
DRAW - Kidderminster Harriers v York City
DRAW - Barrow v Grimsby Town

Luton Town v Mansfield Town is live on Premier Sports TV - Wednesday 25th January 7pm (7.30pm kick-off) - visit for subscription details.

You can play your part in the commentary for this game! Contact commentators Steve Bower and Ian Snodin during the action to give your thoughts - email: OR Twitter: @steveandsnods.

You can follow me on Twitter - @AlanBlueSquare

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