Mansfield vs. Northampton Predictions: Stags to continue home form
It's play-off season people! Yes we're at the time of the year when the EFL end of season show piece matches become front and centre in the hearts and minds of the average football fan. We've asked our lower league ligger @OddsT3rrier to preview the League Two first leg match between Mansfield Town and Northampton Town and he's given us his best two bets.
Mansfield vs. Northampton Tips
Both teams come into this first leg tie at Field Mill (or the One Call Stadium to use its full sponsorship name) in vastly different frames of mind. Mansfield will be delighted to have held onto the final playoff spot after a creditable 2-2 draw with Forest Green on the final day, to hold off Sutton United.
Northampton on the other hand were involved in one of the most dramatic final days of living memory; despite winning their game 3-1 away at Barrow, the Cobblers were denied by a stunning Bristol Rovers 7-0 home win against Scunthorpe and missed out by goals scored, with both teams locked on points and goal difference. Now manager Jon Brady has to try to gee up his charges after that heartbreak and drag his side to promotion via the play-offs.
Stags boss Nigel Clough and his men were down in the relegation zone after 14 games of the season but then flew up the table, on the back of a club record 11 straight home wins and 14 games unbeaten. They have a superb record at home and will be hoping to take a healthy lead into the second leg at Sixfields.
My first pick is for Mansfield to win the first leg in front of a sell out crowd. Field Mill has been an absolute fortress this season with Mansfield 2nd in the league for home points, behind only Tranmere, picking up 49 points from the 23 games and losing only four games in the process. During an almost six month period between October and April, The Stags won 11 straight games at home.
Manager Nigel Clough and players have come out recently and said how important the home support has been. It may just be seen as lip service but there's no denying they are a fearsome prospect at home.
Mansfield won 1-0 in the corresponding league fixture back in April and I think we will see something similar tonight.
My 2nd pick is based around Newcastle loanee Matty Longstaff to score in the 90 minutes. The 22-year-old has had a rapid fall from grace over the last couple of seasons. After scoring on his debut with a stunning goal against Manchester United his future looked one of a regular Premier League player. However, after a disappointing loan spell at Aberdeen, Longstaff was loaned to Mansfield Town - a move that shocked many onlooking observers. In his time in the East Midlands though, he has won new fans with his contributions in their march up the table. In just 16 appearances Longstaff has eight goal contributions (6 goals and 2 assists) and has scored twice in his last three games.
Longstaff is averaging 1.63 shots per game and 0.88 shots on target so is usually a threat around the goal area. The 13/2 therefore represents superb value.
If you are following either bet then good luck and please remember to gamble responsibly.
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