Football – England – Blue Square Premier
Saturday 1st December 2012 – Kickoff: 1500hrs
19th placed Ebbsfleet United take on promotion-chasing Grimsby Town at their Stonebridge Road ground as Ebbsfleet look to extend their unbeaten run to six matches.
Upon first glance, it may seem a foregone conclusion that this would be an easy away win for Grimsby Town, but Ebbsfleet are made of sterner stuff these days having taken points off Alfreton Town and AFC Telford along with straight wins over Tamworth, Hyde and Macclesfield Town and indeed are chasing a third successive BSP win here today.
Ebbsfleet’s home record still doesn’t look that great at 2-4-3 13/15 but when you consider they were winless after their first three at Stonebridge Road, they have improved since then. Another factor worth considering here is the fact that Grimsby Town are involved in a FA Trophy replay away at Evo-Stik Northern Premier League side Buxton on Wednesday evening which doesn’t give the players much time to recover for Saturday’s match when you include travel time etc.
Ebbsfleet’s turnaround in form is largely thanks to striker Nathan Elder (10 goals, 3 assists) who has scored 5 goals in his last 4 matches, along with Tom Phipp and Phil Walsh (4 goals apiece) while Ashley Carew has chipped in with 4 assists to improve manager Liam Daish’s outlook on life in the BSP.
Grimsby Town as mentioned face a tough cup replay on Wednesday night on an expected heavy surface at Buxton which won’t be ideal preparation for this match on the weekend. The Mariners have also made the curious decision to let striker Anthony Elding make a loan move to League One side Preston North End as he was predominantly a bench-player this season for them. In my opinion he was one of Grimsby’s best players so it’ll be interesting to see how this pans out.
Without doubt, Grimsby are one of the stronger outfits in the division and their play-off position is not a false one – however, The Mariners have suffered a couple of losses recently at the hands of Macclesfield Town and Hyde and their away record stands at 3-5-1 11/7 which is quite solid nonetheless.
Up front, they have Ross Hannah (8 goals) who bagged a brace against Braintree Town last weekend, Nathan Pond (4 goals, 3 assists) and midfielder Craig Disley (3 goals) who represent the main goal threats from Grimsby.
With Grimsby’s cup replay a few days beforehand along with Ebbsfleet’s improved run of form, I’ll take the hosts with the handicap as I’m confident that they can get at least a draw here today in which case my selection will win.
I’m expecting a 1-1 draw or Ebbsfleet might even edge it here today.
Pick: Ebbsfleet United AH+0.5 @ 1.95 bet365