League Two preview: Back a basement blockade

 

Goals were at a premium in League Two on Tuesday with eight out of 11 matches finishing under 2.5 goals and we fancy more of the same on Saturday with our focus fixed on a couple of interesting tussles in particular. Let's start with Morecambe v Barnet at the Globe Arena.

The stats tell their own story about the attacking threat posed in this match - the two teams average exactly one goal per game between them - with Morecambe youngster Jack Redshaw the only player who will take to the pitch with more than three league goals to his name. He has five, which puts him joint-16th in the division scoring charts. 

But it's the defensive organisation shown by both in recent weeks that really grabs our attention.

Barnet, of course, have become a much tighter unit since the arrival of Edgar Davids. Not only has the Dutch master made an impact with his tactical input on the training ground, but it's clearly a significant advantage for any team at this level to have a player of his intelligence dictating the shape and tempo in the centre of midfield.

As such, we probably shouldn't be too shocked that the Bees have kept four successive clean sheets with Davids on the pitch - and let's not forget this was a team shipping over two goals per game prior to that. In those last four matches, Barnet have suffered only 15 shots on target.

Morecambe went out all guns blazing by their own standards in midweek, bidding for their first ever league win over local rivals Accrington Stanley at the 11th attempt, only to be thwarted by some brilliant goalkeeping by Ian Dunbavin. 

The Shrimps peppered the Stanley goal with 14 shots on target - their best effort of the campaign to date - but couldn't force a way through, even missing a 92nd-minute penalty. So it might leave them a little lacking in self-belief this weekend and we doubt they will carve out nearly as many openings.

However, the goalless draw with Leam Richardson's men was Morecambe's fourth consecutive clean sheet on home soil as they try to do something about that wretched win ratio of 25 per cent since moving into the new stadium over two years ago. Given their lack of cutting edge, they seem to be going about it the right way but they might be subjected to further frustration this weekend before that percentage picks up.

Meanwhile, the other fixture that looks like a prime candidate to finish under 2.5 goals is Aldershot v Bradford at the Recreation Ground. The two teams both played out goalless draws on home soil in midweek and fatigue could be the primary reason for the scoresheet rarely being troubled in this one.

Aldershot dropped to the bottom of the Football League after their stalemate with Wycombe but it wasn't an occasion for Dean Holdsworth to be too downhearted, given that his team had kept their clean sheet in spite of playing for over an hour with ten men after Anthony Tonkin's red card for two bookable offences.

The Shots are now four games unbeaten since their red-letter triumph at Southend last month and looking much more accomplished than at any point prior to that, although there's no getting away from the fact that they have only netted two goals in eight home matches.

Bradford, by normal standards, are one of the more creative teams in the division but they have laboured a little in recent weeks, trying to juggle a promotion bid with their efforts in three different cup competitions. The 0-0 with Chesterfield on Tuesday was the Bantams' ninth midweek match of the campaign and it produced just one shot on target for either side.

Since their gripping 3-2 extra-time comeback win over Burton Albion in the Capital One Cup at the end of September, Phil Parkinson's men have finished under 2.5 in nine out of 11 matches and their last five games have produced a grand total of four goals, including a goalless 120 minutes on the road against Premier League Wigan.

All of which considered, it can do no harm to throw some loose change on both matches dishing up equal boredom. The no-goalscorer double pays out at 142/1.

Betting advice...

2pts Under 2.5 goals Aldershot v Bradford at 10/11 (Boylesports)

Shots played an hour with ten men in midweek and Bantams look tired from their cup exploits.

2pts Under 2.5 goals Morecambe v Barnet at evens (Coral, Hills)

Shrimps have looked solid of late and Bees are giving no freebies out under Edgar Davids.

0.25pt No goalscorer double Aldershot v Bradford and Morecambe v Barnet at 142/1 (Sky Bet)

The four teams produced a grand total of just one goal between them in midweek.

For more betting advice, visit Best of the Bets by clicking here.

News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat