League Two Tips: Back Exeter to outscore Carlisle

Exeter City's St James Park
Exeter have a better scoring record at St James Park than Carlisle do on the road this season

The Cumbrians are lightweight shooters on their travels, says Ian Lamont, who tips Walsall to come good and a first ever draw between Crawley and Cambridge...

"Opta might point out that Carlisle are unbeaten in six games, last enjoying better (eight) in March 2018. However, if Exeter are to maintain top three ambitions, they should win a fourth at home in a row for the first time since October 2018."

Beech's men score too few away

Exeter 2.56/4 v Carlisle 3.39/4; the draw 3.412/5
13.00 Kick-off

Matt Taylor says Exeter need to start targeting wins after their comeback draw at Leyton Orient. It's not like they haven't been winning, but he doesn't want them to rest on the laurels of an eight game unbeaten run.

They last lost to Port Vale, at home, in their second game of the season. Since then, they have won three at home, including against pacesetters Cambridge, with a goal difference of 7-2.

The Grecians' boss found Jökull Andrésson, an Icelandic youth international, 19, available for an emergency loan from Reading for a week at least. Taylor said the young stopper didn't have a shot to save in anger, and it is true Orient's only effort on target resulted in a goal. He might be more tested on Saturday.

Midfielder Jake Taylor has hit a rich vein of form in front of goal (Ryan Bowman must be fuming and needs to follow suit). Skipper Taylor said the team doesn't like going behind - something the manager wishes them to stop doing, too.

Fortunately, they have earned points in six games in which they have conceded first. This, combined with the above stats, suggests that even if Carlisle do score first the hosts will not be overawed. Add in that the Cumbrians only score once per game away - at best - and the chances are that Grecians can take three points.

Chris Beech's men put in another fine performance on Tuesday to earn a 3-1 win over Morecambe, John Mellish scoring once more. He managed to score the winner at Port Vale for their one away win earlier this month, but they then managed 1-1 draws at Oldham and Grimsby, lesser lights in League Two than Exeter.

Opta might point out that Carlisle are unbeaten in six games, last enjoying better (eight) under Keith Curle in March 2018. However, if Exeter are to maintain top three ambitions, they should win a fourth at home in a row for the first time since October 2018.

Saddlers can take much needed victory

Mansfield 2.77/4 v Walsall 3.02/1; the draw 3.55/2
15.00 Kick-offs

One side that definitely needs to turn draws into wins is Walsall, who drew six of their eight games in an unbeaten start, before Tuesday's defeat to Cambridge.

Darrell Clarke says they need to develop a killer instinct. Caolan Lavery says the pressure on him has increased since Adan George and Jack Scrimshaw have arrived to bolster the attacking options alongside himself and Elijah Adebayo. Both main strikers have three goals, but the Saddlers will require more if they are to be serious promotion challengers this season.

Winger Wes McDonald hasn't hit the heights of last season but Clarke believes he will come good. The wide man is "coming to the boil" says his manager and there seems no better place to do so than Field Mill, where Graham Coughlan was sacked after the 4-2 defeat to Barrow. A summer overhaul of the playing squad hadn't worked, said the owners.

The winless Stags at least scored twice on Tuesday. After securing a point at high-flying Cheltenham, Coughlan had urged his side to take advantage of a "vital" home double. But Aaron O'Driscoll made things worse by being sent off on his League Two debut.

Barrow boys might have started to roll

Barrow 2.68/5 v Bradford 3.185/40; the draw 3.39/4

Barrow have been scoring in abundance in the past week and have finally been rewarded with a victory, their first back in the Football League.

Tuesday's match was not the first time they have made a fast scoring start. They have been knocking on the door of a win. They led against Walsall, and were 2-0 and 3-1 up at home to Bolton before drawing. Holding onto the lead has been the issue. David Dunn's heart must have been in his mouth when Mansfield pulled one back on Tuesday about 10 minutes before half-time.

Dior Angus and Josh Kay, who both have three goals this season, and experienced Mike Jones, who has netted twice, must have been delighted their hard work going forward has finally been rewarded.

The Bluebirds, who have signed a promising young French striker called Dimitri Sea this week, have had issues at the other end. They have conceded in every League Two match this season. Can they stop that against Bradford?

The Bantams have not scored in their last two matches. They have also conceded regularly, 10 in seven of their eight league games. Defeat to Bolton was a first reverse away this term, and previously they won at Mansfield, 3-1, after drawing 2-2 at Forest Green. Barrow seem to offer open enough football for Billy Clarke, Clayton Donaldson or Lee Novak to have chances. Much has been expected of midfielder Elliot Watt, released from Wolves in the summer.
While both sides will fancy their chances of a win, the hosts have finally got going and could take it, but over 2.5 goals should be considered too at 2.111/10 or more. However, but I am going with the home side, even though Opta say Bradford haven't lost four straight matches under Stuart McCall since March 2009. Barrow, I think, might have started to roll.

Crawley's fine home form can withstand U's pressure

Crawley 3.185/40 v Cambridge 2.56/4; the draw 3.412/5

It would seem unlikely that Crawley could extend their 13-game unbeaten home run against a team having a very fine season. Or would it? To win would certainly seem a very tall order.

The Red Devils have scored twice or more in eight games of that run, including the astonishing demolition of Tranmere on Tuesday. I expected a win, just not a 4-0 mauling. Morecambe went the same way a few weeks ago.

Cambridge have proved themselves above the class of most of Crawley's opponents in the Sussex club's run. They could have gone top of League Two on Tuesday had it not been for a late Newport goal at Colchester. They have won three times away from four games, netting 12 times and conceding twice.

Paul Mullin's 11 goals already have really fired the U's to amazing heights. Home defenders George Francomb and Jordan Tunnicliffe will do well to contain him, let alone get forward and score like they have done in recent matches. They will have to leave that to Max Watters and another relatively new face Jake Hesketh, the Southampton loanee. This is where the youngsters really learn to earn their rights in League Two.

Could it be that the hosts could hold on for a draw against Mark Bonner's high flyers? But on balance both sides are showing more resilience than last season. Cambridge have improved dramatically. Mullin's goal tally this season, point out Opta, is four more already than any of their players have netted in either of the past two individual seasons.

The hosts will have to show how battle hardened they can be to keep their unbeaten run at the Broadfield going, but I'll be backing the side to take a first ever draw (say Opta) in their 10th meeting.

P/L 2020-21

-9.5pt

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