Football – England – League One
Friday 4th January 2012 – Kickoff: 1945hrs
Walsall and Portsmouth do battle at the Bescot Stadium in League One’s solitary fixture on Friday night with the hosts looking to record a third successive home win while the visitors are looking to avoid a fourth successive League One defeat.
Walsall secured a good win on New Years Day when they accounted for Stevenage 1-0 at home thanks to an 87th minute winner from Jamie Paterson. Walsall have turned around their form again following a run of dire results which saw The Saddlers endure a wretched run of twelve matches without a win but one loss in their last five suggests they are on their way back.
Recent wins over Colchester United, MK Dons away 4-2 and Stevenage a couple of days ago has lifted the west midlands club for this important fixture against visitors Portsmouth. Walsall’s home form has also improved and their record currently stands at 4-4-5 16/21 on the back of four matches unbeaten on home soil.
It’ll be interesting to see how Portsmouth shape up for this away trip following their 0-5 thrashing at the hands of Swindon Town on New Years Day and it’s now twelve matches without a win as the once Premiership club seem to be heading on a one-way downwards spiral into League Two football.
The south coast side now occupy 21st place and two points adrift of Colchester United and safety, as they are now situated in the bottom four relegation spots. Pompey have lost nine of the last twelve and away from home they haven’t won for seven matches with an away record of 2-4-6 15/25 with only rock-bottom Hartlepool United (26 goals) conceding more than them on the road in League One.
In fact, Portsmouth have won just twice in their last fourteen away matches which includes the tail-end of the Championship last season, and you have to wonder how they can possibly pull themselves out of the predicament they find themselves in at the moment.
Walsall have experienced an upturn in form and of course confidence whilst visitors Portsmouth are in freefall at the moment and can’t take a trick. Therefore, I’ll back Walsall and give the quarter ball here in a match that I expect them to win perhaps 1-0 or 2-1.
Pick: Walsall AH-0.25 @ 1.74 Pinnacle