Saturday 28th January 2012 – Kickoff: 1500hrs
In-form Torquay United take on basement dwellers Northampton Town on Saturday afternoon at their Plainmoor ground as they look to secure a fifth straight successive win.
The Gulls have hit their straps lately with successive league wins over Plymouth Argyle, Macclesfield Town, Morecambe and Dagenham & Redbridge and the west country outfit have now put together a six match unbeaten run and have suffered just one loss in their last thirteen matches.
Torquay now occupy one of the play-off places and are just five points behind Cheltenham Town and an automatic promotion spot, so they will be right up for this match I fancy. Their home record stands at a solid 7-5-2 26/17, and are unbeaten in their last seven at Plainmoor which includes six straight wins, most notably a 1-0 win over giant-killing Swindon Town.
Midfielder Lee Mansell (8 goals, 4 assists) leads the way along with striker Rene Howe (7 goals, 3 assists), with Danny Stevens (4 goals, 2 assists), Kevin Nicholson (4 goals, 2 assists) and Eunan O’Kane (4 goals, 6 assists) are the main goal threats but they also provide each other the ammunition as manager Martin Ling has plenty of attacking options.
Visitors Northampton Town are at the other end of the spectrum having lost back-to-back matches at home against Southend United and Barnet and they remain rooted at the bottom of League Two as a result.
Just one win for The Cobblers in their last sixteen matches which was at Morecambe who themselves have won just three times at home so far this season. Northampton’s away record is actually markedly better than their home record and stands at 4-2-7 18/25, and they have conceded the most number of goals in total in League Two (56).
Northampton have also conceded 2 goals or more on eight occasions on the road so far and could be heading for a similar fate on Saturday against a Torquay side who are strong at home.
Striker Adebayo Akinfenwa (9 goals, 5 assists) along with Saido Berahino (6 goals, 1 assist) and midfielder Michael Jacobs (5 goals, 6 assists) provide the main threats for Northampton but their exploits are too often thwarted by their own defensive weaknesses, and I expect a similar pattern to play out in this one.
Torquay are solid at home and should win this one, but by how many? I’ll take a punt on the -1 handicap at a good price given Northampton’s defensive record.
Betting Pick: Torquay United AH-1 @ 2.45 Pinnacle