Tuesday, April 05, 2011


READING - PRESTON NORTH END I am going to be covering this match myself and will update all three games at the half time break by email. Reading were fortunate to take the points from Portsmouth at the weekend, Pompey had several clear cut chances to take the lead, but the game was over with the breakaway penalty and red card, although even then, Portsmouth still created a couple of chances reduced to ten men. You all know that I am keen on this Reading side, but there is no disputing that they are a better side with Mikele Leigertwood in the starting eleven and he does face a late test this evening. However they came about, those three points secured the Royals a place in the playoff zone and they will be looking to put some distance between themselves and Nottingham Forest tonight, not least because the two teams meet at the City Ground on saturday in the proverbial "six pointer". Preston found a way to win a tremendously open encounter with Swansea at the weekend and that, their third win in a row, has put them in position to move to within five points of safety today, something which looked unthinkable just a few weeks ago. They have picked up road points at Forest, Norwich and Watford ( where they should have won) in the last 7-8 weeks and are unbeaten in four away starts, so will arrive in confident mood. Surprisingly little between these two clubs, who are separated by 17 league places, in the first half of games. Hosts collecting 1.39 points on average, North End 1.28, after the break 1.65 and a league low 0.63 respectively. The win over Swansea being one of only four PNE have collected in the second period. Reading have collected points in 7 of the 11 games in which they have trailed at the half. DAGENHAM - PETERBOROUGH UNITED Daggers are outside the drop zone by one point with a superior goal difference and every point for them is absolutely vital. Three points tonight would see them pass Notts County and Tranmere, which would be of extra value as they meet both in the next eleven days, with a daunting visit to league leaders Brighton sandwiched inbetween.Both teams failed to hold onto a lead at the weekend, Dagenham blowing a 1-0 advantage at Exeter, Peterborough throwing away a 3-1 halftime lead at home to Bournemouth on Friday night, which at least gave Posh an extra 24 hours recovery time. The draw will be of little use to Boro who look booked for a post season spot and will be looking to gamble for the win which would see them close to within three points of second placed Huddersfield whom they travel to meet on saturday.Always plenty of action after the break when Posh are playing, they have lost four of the eleven in which they have led, yet won four in which they have trailed and their games have produced a league high ( by far) 86 goals. Daggers are also quite good at chasing games, collecting points in 5 of the 10 in which they have trailed. Draw at half time could be interesting, with Posh posting nine wins and averaging 1.93 when level ,which ranks then second in the division, Dagenham a lowly 23rd with 0.85 points. SOUTHAMPTON - CHARLTON ATHLETIC Saints are in the automatic promotion driving seat and a win would take them to within two points of second placed Huddersfield with two games in hand. They pretty much dominated the reverse fixture two weeks ago, but a defensive error cost them dear and the points were shared. They came back from 2-0 down at home to Dons at the weekend to snatch a most unlikely looking win so I suppose that balances things out over the two games, Jonathan Forte came off the bench to score two goals in as many minutes in that game and the former Scunthorpe United player will be looking to make a debut start this evening.Charlton have very little to play for now and that has been evident through recent starts when they have conceded first in their last eight outings, coming from behind on saturday to beat local rivals Leyton Orient 3-1, they might not be so fortunate tonight with Saints a perfect 12-0-0 when ahead at the half. Hosts are 20-11-6 in the second half and their average of 1.91 points is bettered only by Brighton, they have won 3 of the 8 in which they trailed. Key stat for the visitors is that they have only gone on to win five of the 21 matches in which they were level at half time. Confirmed : Richardson and Dickson come into the full back roles for Saints, Dale Stephens makes his debut in midfield, only a place on the bench for Forte. For Charlton Bradley Wright-Phillips passed a late test. Good Luck.

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