League Two expert Ian Lamont backs Morecambe to bounce back on Tuesday and goals at free-scoring Oldham as they host Carlisle...
"Harry Kewell said he would like to play Bolton every week, not as a derisory remark but because they play good, passing football, which opens up games. That could lead to over 2.5 goals."
Morecambe can shake off heavy reverse
Morecambe 2.942/1 v Mansfield 2.68/5; the draw 3.613/5
Mansfield are nervous and low on confidence. Not only have they failed to win any of their nine matches in all competitions this season. In their defeat at home to Bradford on Saturday, Mansfield goalkeeper Marek Stech dropped a corner into his own net.
Plenty of goalkeepers make errors. They are exposed players. And if they play in the Premier League the errors are over analysed and can affect a player's whole career as he dwells on the incident and makes more mistakes. Boss Graham Coughlan didn't want to dwell on Stech's error afterwards or the errors by his other players as they lost 3-1 to Bradford with debutant George Lapslie sent off.
The Stags managed nine shots on target - which was more than Bradford and in fact any other League Two team managed at the weekend. Coughlan can at least be grateful for that and Andy Cook netted his second for the season. The Mansfield boss will expect more, though, from Nicky Maynard, whom Cook replaced, and Jordan Bowery.
Coughlan reflects that his side are in a "dark place". His players believe one win will bring huge confidence. For me, they have struggled since Steve Evans' exit as manager.
But how is Morecambe's confidence? Fragile? A 5-0 thumping at home to Cambridge in the early season looked like an aberration in an otherwise excellent set of results - until they lost 4-0 at Crawley on Saturday after going top of the league. They are not necessarily used to winning: Opta says they are looking for back-to-back home wins for the first time since March 2019.
Derek Adams said they were in total control in the first half (more than in any match this season), when Crawley keeper Glenn Morris seemed particularly busy. He was particularly aggrieved, early in the second half, that Carlos Mendes Gomes was fouled by the keeper, only to be deemed offside in a very late decision.
The Shrimps have only one goal at home, beating Port Vale, but then have only played two games there. In generally fine form, Morecambe will welcome the chance to take on the struggling Stags.
Cole Stockton doesn't get the public praise he merits, insists Adams, who has set his frontman a big agenda to be the hold up man to let in others. It certainly works to make more of Aaron Wildig and Adam Phillips. Morecambe should be backed to win.
Opta add that Mansfield have not kept a clean sheet in 12 games away from home, going back to last November. Given the formlines, it is a surprise that the price on the home team has shifted up a little since it was first published.
Mellish relishing Cumbrians chances
Oldham 2.915/8 v Carlisle 2.8415/8; the draw 3.39/4
There is no denying that manager Chris Beech has suddenly found a way to make Carlisle click in the past few weeks. Four wins from six League Two matches, with three of those victories taken with clean sheets.
Is that enough to hang a winning tag on them at Oldham? The Cumbrians have taken three straight victories, but only one away - and what a place to win, Port Vale!
Does only scoring once away and taking just those three points from a possible nine dampen their recent winning streak? Midfielder Jon Mellish will be full of life having scored in three games running - and five in four if you count cup competitions.
Beech felt the overall performance in the 3-2 win over Colchester - who were much more fancied for success this season - was the best since he took charge of the team. They were pinned back from 2-0 up, as well. But they will be feeling a lot more confident now striker Lewis Alessandra has joined his fellow striker Josh Kayode on the scoresheet.
Carlisle are looking to win consecutive away games for the first time since September 2019, Opta report.
Harry Kewell's Oldham finally took a first league victory, at a hapless looking Bolton, on Saturday. Equally it was after they were pegged back. Zak Dearnley won praise for coming back from injury to take his chance off the bench and then score the late winner.
In contrast to the visitors, Oldham's defence have yet to record a blank. Fortunately, their attackers have come up trumps in the past four games, even when it has been in vain. They have scored nine times with Conor McAleny hitting five in three games. He will be happy to have support from others, although he has a decent career strike rate of one goal every four games.
Kewell said he would like to play Bolton every week, not as a derisory remark but because they play good, passing football - like he wants his side to play. That means, he says, they are going to lose possession frequently, making the football good to watch. Hence the lack of clean sheets. It could be that this opens up the game against Carlisle, who are in the form to win, with over 2.5 goals added in at 2.111/10.
Valiants can tame tearaway Cambridge
Cambridge 2.56/4 v Port Vale 3.211/5; the draw 3.412/5
What happened last time Cambridge, away from home, stuck five past a side without reply? They drew their next match nil-nil at home. If that result became habit forming for Tranmere, Port Vale present different issues. They managed to rally against Salford City, after two defeats, winning courtesy of a late Cristian Montano strike.
The visitors have failed to score a great deal - which they must improve if they're to challenge for promotion - and one priority has to be to keep Mark Cullen fit. Cullen scored two on the opening day and, even without him, Tom Pope, who's been prolific over the years, has been reduced to sitting on the substitutes' bench for several games so far this season.
John Askey clearly trusts Devante Rodney and others more, while midfielder Tom Conlon is their only other player on the scoresheet in League football this season. Askey was heartened by his team's determination and battling against Salford, after defeats against Carlisle and Morecambe without scoring.
Cambridge are not the first team to suffer a draw or defeat after thumping a rival. It might be something to do with over-confidence and not doing the basics right. The U's have gone from being in the bottom third last season to topping the division in October. The winning feeling is still at the fragile stage. But they will be keen to make it four unbeaten at home to start a season for the first time since 1995, as Opta point out.
Mark Bonner admitted it is hard for staff at the U's to keep their players' feet on the ground after such a large margin of victory. He must be cock-a-hoop to have secured Paul Mullin towards the end of last season from Tranmere. A quality striker, he has rewarded his manager with seven goals this season. Visiting keeper Scott Brown and his defence could have their work cut out trying to fend them off, but they did so against a highly rated Salford attack on Saturday.
Back Morecambe @ 2.942/1 to beat Mansfield 2.68/5
Back Carlisle @ 2.8415/8 to beat Oldham
Back over 2.5 goals in Oldham v Carlisle @ 2.111/10
Back Cambridge and Port Vale to draw @ 3.412/5