Grimsby Town v Newport County
BSBP Play-Off Semi-Final 1st leg, 7.45pm
GRISMBY secured a nice win on the final day of the regular league season by beating a weakened Newport side 3-0. Although it will be a very different away side that turns up here I think the result will be the same but maybe not the margin.
The market for the match is hard to explain. Essentially we were getting a far bigger price on Saturday for Grimsby to beat a Newport reserve team than we are getting for them to beat a Newport side back to full strength.
With that in mind, stakes should be reduced accordingly, but there is still plenty of evidence to suggest Grimsby can gain the upper hand from this first leg at their Blundell Park home.
The Mariners have by far the best defensive record from the regular season, conceding an average of just 0.83 goals per game. Thirteen of Grimsby's 23 wins in the league this season were registered without their opponents scoring a goal.
Striker Liam Hearn has been welcomed back into the team after managing just five appearances due to an Achilles tendon injury, he got back on the scoresheet on Saturday and that's a warning to the rest of the teams in these play-offs.
Newport blazed a trail at the start of the season when their main striker Aaron O'Connor was firing on all cylinders. His own injury woes have curtailed his form and his return of just four goals in his last 21 appearances will be giving manager Justin Edinburgh a headache.
I'll be backing Grimsby to strike a killer blow here and then rely on their defensive form to complete the job in South Wales.
Back Grimsby Town at 2.15