Football – England – League Two
Friday 25th January 2013 – Kickoff: 1945hrs
Fifth placed Cheltenham Town take on unpredictable Rochdale at Whaddon Road on Friday night (weather permitting of course) as the hosts look to oust Northampton Town from the last remaining automatic promotion spot by taking all three points tonight.
However, they shouldn’t underestimate their opponents tonight as Rochdale have pulled off some surprise results so far this season – but more on that later on. Cheltenham have produced some mixed results lately, and indeed, they were beaten 1-4 at Rochdale in the corresponding fixture just before Christmas so they’ll be wary tonight. In addition, a 0-1 defeat at Oxford United along with taking just single points off York City and Morecambe proves it hasn’t been plain sailing for Cheltenham recently.
The Robins’ home record however stands at 8-3-2 22/12 and they are more solid on home ground having now gone ten matches unbeaten which includes seven wins, most notably, Oxford United 2-1, Exeter City 3-0 and Burton Albion 1-0 along with decent draws against Fleetwood Town and League Two leaders Port Vale.
As previously mentioned, Rochdale have proved to be tricky customers on a few occasions and seem to delight in ‘spoiling the party’ whenever they can. Dale have already beaten the likes of Rotherham United 3-2 and Gillingham 2-1 on the road so far along with holding Port Vale to a point in a 2-2 draw but if I’m being hyper-critical these results were earned in September (Rotherham & Gillingham) while the point at Vale was in the beginning of November.
Indeed, since the middle of November, Rochdale have actually won only a further two matches which were a 4-1win over Cheltenham Town and a 4-2 away win at League Cup finalists Bradford City at the end of December. Aside from these wins, they’ve suffered a big dip in form which has resulted in eight defeats in their last ten league matches.
Rochdale’s away record stands at an unpredictable 6-2-6 28/31 but the factor in Cheltenham’s favour here is that Rochdale have conceded at least one goal in their last twenty consecutive matches on their travels. They’ve actually conceded a total of 44 goals during this sequence which equates to an average of 2.2 goals per game and against the best defensive record at home in the division, they may well find themselves on yet another defeat.
Cheltenham Town are solid at home and should be hard to score against at Whaddon Road (where they’ve kept six clean sheets so far) and with a home record of 5-1-1 12/5 v bottom half teams, they should have enough about them to see off the potentially dangerous commodity that is Rochdale. I’ll take a 2-1 win for Cheltenham but I advise giving the quarter ball as insurance.
Pick: Cheltenham Town AH-0.25 @ 1.78 Pinnacle looks the best option