BLUE SQUARE BET PREMIER PLAY-OFFS SEMI-FINAL 2ND LEG PREVIEW
Thursday May 3, 2012
BYALAN ALGER OF BLUE SQUARE
MONDAY 2pm - MANSFIELD TOWN v YORK CITY
Two contrasting styles from the 1st leg produced the third draw of the season between these two clubs.
York City have not been ahead in any of the three games so far and once again it was their comeback on Wednesday that ensured honours were even.
Sending-offs have been prevalent in live Blue Square Bet Premier matches and once again a player saw red in front of the Premier Sports cameras in the first game. That's an astonishing figure of over 70% of live matches featuring a dismissal over the last five seasons, compared to just 30% in non-live matches.
It was Mansfield's star striker Matt Green that received his marching orders and his suspension for the 2nd leg has made a big impact on the prices.
Tackles were flying in on Wednesday and a couple of players did look fortunate not to join Green for an early-bath. A sending-off in this all important 2nd leg is just 9/4, which would still represent value against the overall live stats.
The Stags are 13/10 narrow favourites to win in 90 minutes with home advantage, York are priced at 9/5 and another draw is priced at 9/4.
The 1-1 at Bootham Crescent was the eighth draw in a first leg match since the Conference play-offs started in the 2002/03 season. Four of the previous seven away teams to achieve a draw in the first leg have eventually prevailed, but that's hardly a weighty stat.
One interesting outcome from analysing previous 1st legs that have ended level is that three of the seven have seen the sides inseparable after 180 minutes. That could be a highly likely outcome here considering the recent history between the two teams.
At Blue Square we have priced up all eventualities and an Extra-Time win for Mansfield is offered at 9/1, York to do likewise is 11/1.
A penalty shoot-out win is 11/1 for each team. Another 1-1 draw in normal time is on offer at 6/1. Green's suspension could mean that Mansfield's scorer from the first leg Ross Dyer picks up a more central role on Monday and he could once again be a threat from set-pieces and long throws.
Dyer is 11/2 to score the first goal of the game and 13/8 to score at any time. Matty Blair got into the right areas for York in the first game but failed to build on his chances, he could still be a value bet to find the net at some point in the 2nd leg at 7/2. Jason Walker was marshalled with what looked like strict instructions from the Mansfield back line and he had to drop deep to get the ball quite often, he is as big as 13/2 to break the deadlock in the game though and based on his overall record that might be worth chancing.
MONDAY 4.30pm - WREXHAM v LUTON TOWN
A fantastic performance from Luton Town in the 1st leg sees them take a 2-0 lead to north Wales on Monday.
Whilst they could feel that chances towards the end of the game should have ensured a wider margin they will surely be delighted with the position they are now in. It was a lacklustre Wrexham performance at Kenilworth Road but no neutral would take anything away from The Hatters all-round play and the way they scored their goals.
Paul Buckle's short reign at the club now features good wins over Kidderminster Harriers and both of the top two in the table, furthermore not conceding a goal in any of those three games.
The clean-sheet on Thursday night the sixth in a row for Mark Tyler who now hasn't picked the ball out of his net for nearly 10 hours of football. Including a World-class save at Gateshead in their penultimate regular season game.
Anyone who had their jury out on the turnaround achieved by the former Torquay boss, must surely have reached a positive verdict by now.
Wrexham are the favourites to win the game though at 5/4, a Luton win is offered at 15/8 and a draw, which would also suit the visitors, is priced at 9/4.
A two-goal lead from the 1st leg has been carried forward three times from the nine previous years of the play-offs in this division.
Only once has it been overturned, but that was on the only occasion that the side that were behind played at home second so there is a glimmer of hope for Wrexham. They are 7/2 to turn the tie around and make the Wembley final.
Stuart Fleetwood and Andre Gray both featured in the Luton starting line-up in the 1st leg and both came away with a goal apiece.
With his side already two-nil up and now away from home Luton boss Buckle may not be so attacking again, although both players are towards the top of the first goalscorer market. Fleetwood is 13/2 to score first and Gray is 7/1 - any player not on the field when the first goal is scored is obviously refunded.
At some point in this game the home side will have to push forward for goals so we could see some gaps left for Luton to exploit - a last goalscorer bet on either Gray or Fleetwood (at the same price) could be the call as they counter attack. Buckle's successful season in the play-offs with Torquay saw them win 2-0 at home to Histon in their first leg and then go to Cambridgeshire and lose 1-0.
That was enough to make the Wembley final as they soaked up pressure and a 1-0 home win for Wrexham is 6/1 in what would be a repeat. I'd oppose that bet on the basis of the different nature of these two sides and I predict a high scoring affair.
Four or more goals is offered at 23/10 and that looks like a good investment. Again a red-card would still represent value at 9/4 based on the live stats and tempers could reach fever pitch with so much at stake.
Alan's Best Bets for Mansfield Town v York City:
DRAW - Mansfield Town v York City
1-1 DRAW - Correct Score
RED CARD TO BE SHOWN - Match Specials
Alan's Best Bets for Wrexham v Luton Town:
4 OR MORE GOALS - Total Goals
ANDRE GRAY or STUART FLEETWOOD - Last Goalscorer
RED CARD TO BE SHOWN - Match Specials
Both 2nd Legs of the Blue Square Bet Premier Semi-Final play-off matches and the Promotion Final are live on Premier Sports TV - visit www.premiersports.tv for subscription details.
You can play your part in the commentary for every game! Contact commentators Steve Bower and Ian Snodin during the action to give your thoughts - email: firstname.lastname@example.org OR Twitter: @steveandsnods.
You can follow me on Twitter - @AlanBlueSquare