Late winners are wonderful things. Make it a late winner against Northampton Town and Chris Wilder and you might as well multiply the effect by a bazillion. The weekend win over the Cobblers got its groove on with other results to put us in a decent position as far as the League Two 2014-5 playoffs are concerned. And now Portsmouth give us a chance to cement it further.
With three points and a nine-goal swing needed by Newport County to bump us out of the top seven, we’ve given ourselves an attractive safety net should we cock it up at home to Pompey. We’re still stalked by the injury bogeyman, but the signs are still in our favour as we go in search of a three-point haul that could put us just one more win from securing our playoff spot.
If Portsmouth are going to gatecrash the promotion party, they will need to win all four of their remaining matches, two being away from home. The fact that they’ve only won twice away from home all season to this point gives you some idea of just how unlikely that is. But, they are now mathematically safe from the drop so we reckon they can afford to take the foot off the gas.
Of course, a rubbish away record doesn’t mean this one’s in the bag. A sum total of one point from the Tranmere and Daggers indoors tells us that blips do happen. That’s where Simon Walton’s wonderful winner on Saturday comes in – momentum. We got it now, and there will be enough sports psychologists queuing up to tell you how important that is… for a fee, obviously.
Pompey have the third worst record on the road in the division as we’ve already said. And they’ve also got the third worst form in front of goal on their travels, with 11 blanks in 21 outings. They might have avoided blanks in their last two away games, but the men in blue, white and a hint of yellow come to the Lamex without a win in five straight away games. Six is on the cards.
It’s no surprise to learn the bookies have cottoned onto this and Coral will give you 5/2 on the away win. The best home price we’ve seen is 13/10, but you shouldn’t find Boro’ odds-on with anyone. A surprise? Perhaps. It’s evens at Paddy Power for at least one team to not find the back of the net, while Simon Walton is 5s to repeat his goalscoring thingy any time in the 90.
A quick glance at the fixture list for the evening shows that two of the chasing pack could again stumble; Exeter and Newport travelling to teams higher in the table. Higher than us even! Of course, the trick ain’t to worry about others but to about what we need to do. And that is to win, obviously. It’s not going to be a huge blow to drop points, but it won’t half frustrate us…
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