KETTERING TOWN - NOTTS COUNTY
Winner of this tie will meet the lowest ranked team left in the competition, Eastwood Town, in the third round, so will have a fantastic chance to get to Round 4 and earn a plum, money earning tie. Actually, for County, even meeting the meeting with Eastwood, is likely to create huge publicity and probably a sell out crowd, Town are a Nottinghamshire club and only a meeting with Forest would create more interest in the area.
Kettering were unlucky not to win the first game and came very close on several occasions to a late winner. Going into that game, County were at a very low ebb and had just suffered a frightful thumping at Dagenham and a home loss to leaders Wycombe. That draw at least steadied the ship and they got back to winning ways with a 1-0 win over Morecambe at the weekend. They were well on top in that game and gave the visiting defence a bit of a "run around". The recent slump came as a shock to the team , as at times they can play a very slick, passing style, which is as good as anyone in the division, but sometimes you have to forget the fancy stuff and get back to basics. Which is the point that player Gavin Strachan, made in his excellent blog on the BBC website, when he wrote : By basics, I mean aspects of the game such as turning the opposition back four, winning tackles and working harder than the other team. We know we can still pass the ball better but it was imperative that we stopped the rot and got some points on the board."
Hosts have done fantastically well since returning to the "Conference" and are still involved in four competitions, there is no doubt that they will also be given this their full attention, but ten tough games since early November, will surely take it's toll soon. County performed very well in their last televised encounter and their silkier skills might be seen to greater effect live on Setanta tonight. They are able to name their very best starting eleven and are likely to benefit from the appoinment of Scott Mathieson as referee, he is a very lenient official and likes to let the game flow. He has given just 33 yellow and one red card in 19 games in charge this season and with the first match being a very sporting encounter, without a card being shown, "under" three yellow cards, which can be backed at circa 1.91 looks perfectly good value. As does Sean Canham, who has scored in his last two starts and come in for special praise from the coach, for his recent all round contribution, in the anytime goalscorer market at 3.75. But I am going to stick with County at the level ball option, they have avoided defeat in six of their last eight away games and if they are anything like their best, they should win.
6.5 points Notts County level ball 2.16 asian line.
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