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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Notts County to make it nervy for Newport in relegation scrap

Saturday's best football bets

Notts County manager Kevin Nolan
1 of 1

Sky Bet League Two
5.30pm Saturday

Newport v Notts County
When Mike Flynn took charge of Newport in March they were 11 points adrift of safety and now they go into the final day of the Sky Bet League Two season with survival in their own hands against Notts County.

Win and you're in is the prize at stake for a Newport side looking to preserve their Football League status at the expense of Hartlepool, who are two points adrift, and the Monkey Hangers know they must triumph at home to Doncaster to stand a chance of staying up.

Flynn is looking to work the Welsh crowd into a frenzy, calling it the biggest game in Newport's recent history and the locals are turning out in force with a sell-out record crowd heading to Rodney Parade with the aim of having one massive party at the full-time whistle.

However, despite Newport being on the verge of pulling off the greatest of great escapes there is no desire to get involved at odds-on with most bookmakers just because they need to win.

It's quite possible that Newport don't need to win anyway given the difficulty of Hartlepool's encounter (Doncaster are odds-on) and who is to say the squad will cope with the pressure if it gets tense?

Newport are rarely seen as favourites to win any match at this level, never mind considered odds-on shots and to put the price into context they were around 11-10 to beat Leyton Orient at home.

Orient won 4-0 and Notts County are a much better side than the crisis club from east London.

Manager Kevin Nolan has done a superb job in turning around the Magpies - in the last 16 matches they have won nine, drawn three and lost four. Those defeats came against top-four teams Doncaster, Luton and Portsmouth as well as Stevenage, who are pushing hard for a playoff spot.

Jon Stead and Shola Ameobi provide the visitors with an experienced front two and Notts showed they still have an appetite to finish the season strongly with a dominant performance to beat playoff-chasing Blackpool last week.

Nolan has said all the right things this week - wanting to finish with a bang etc - and if he is as good as his word this will be a tricky clash for Newport.

Recommendation
Notts County or draw double chance
1pt 20-23 Coral

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com


Crawley v Mansfield
Mansfield manager Steve Evans returns to his former club Crawley and should leave with maximum points.

The Stags need a miracle to get into the playoffs but this looks to be a good time to head to Sussex with Crawley searching for a new manager following the sacking of Dermot Drummy this week after a run of one victory in 13. That came against basement boys Orient.

The local newspaper went with the headline "Drexit" following Drummy's departure and it will be hard for caretaker Matt Harrold to produce an upturn in fortunes in the one game he has been given to impress. 

The suspended Josh Payne is missing for Crawley and he could be joined on the sidelines by goalkeeper Glenn Morris, who was substituted at half-time in last week's reverse at Cambridge.

Mansfield are one of the stronger sides in League Two on most of the key performance data such as shots on target. They will be kicking themselves at almost certainly missing out on the top seven.

With Evans at the helm it only seems right to expect a push for promotion next season, particularly with the outspoken boss going public in his demands for a top-six budget.

Mansfield, who come into this with three wins in their last four away matches, are preparing with an overnight stay despite their playoff dream being almost over and they remain focused on finishing as high up the table as possible.

The Stags were unlucky to lose 1-0 to Portsmouth last week and a repeat performance should be good enough to land the spoils given this is a significant drop down in grade.

Recommendation
Mansfield
1pt 19-20 bet365, Betfair, Betway

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com


Plays of the day

Banker
Norwich 7-10
The Canaries are finishing a relatively poor campaign in decent fashion, while QPR had lost six on the spin prior to last week's 2-0 win over relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest.

Blowout
Sporting Gijon 4-7
There is a huge amount of Sporting needing to win factored into the prices, although Las Palmas also have a number of absentees. However, Sporting have won just five times in La Liga this season.

Treble
Mansfield 15-16, Norwich 9-13, Inter 3-4, 188Bet

Both teams to score
Games at Wycombe 16-19, Rotherham 9-11, Marseille 19-29, 188Bet

Hotshot
Chris Porter 11-2
Colchester need to beat Yeovil and could also do with boosting their goal difference to stand a chance of finishing in the top seven. Veteran hitman Porter has five goals in his last seven appearances.

Thought for the week

The Football League - or EFL as they like to now be known - have come under fire this week but the anger which followed their decision to call a fake abandonment of last week's Leyton Orient v Colchester match was well over the top.

First of all, what has happened to Orient this season is a disgrace. They were 50-1 to be relegated ante-post and only serious mismanagement at the top has seen them demoted, so the fans are absolutely within their rights to protest as much as they like.

However, those who dished out the stick when it was revealed the teams played out the final minutes two hours after the pitch invasion have not come up with a better solution to what was an incredibly tricky situation for officials.

The game had to be played - Colchester were leading 3-1 and are in the thick of a playoff battle so they couldn't really be awarded a 3-0 win by default as one goal could be pivotal in the race for a top-seven finish.

It was sneaky and far from ideal, but in the circumstances there were not many other options available.

 

Notts showed they still have an appetite to finish the season strongly with a dominant performance to beat playoff-chasing Blackpool last week
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