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Back Wycombe and Stevenage in League Two Play Offs
Eric Roberts 2015-05-05 in Football Tips
The League Two campaign finished on Saturday, and it was not without its shocks as Bury pipped Southend to automatic promotion right at the last. The Shrimpers had been on a run of seven straight wins which had put them clear of Bury and Wycombe with one game to play. However, it was a game too far for them and they lost 3-1 away at Morecambe. Wycombe won 3-2 away at Northamton, but Bury’s 1-0 victory at Tranmere was enough to secure promotion and relegate Southend to the play offs.
To Win Promotion
That means the four teams to compete in the play offs are confirmed, and the best odds for each are below.
Southend, much like Preston in League One, will have to get over that disappointment of failing to go up automatically, and quickly refocus for their semi-final against Stevenage. That’s always a very tough task at any level, but they have an experienced manager in Phil Brown, and he’ll be doing his best to re-energize his players.
Wycombe also had faint hopes of automatic promotion, but realistically they would have expected to finish below one of Southend or Bury, and that’s how things transpired. The difference being that while Southend will be bitterly disappointed not to go up, Wycombe would have already had one eye on the play offs, and may be better prepared.
Plymouth got the better of Luton over the final couple of games to secure the final play off spot, and they’ve already extended the loan of Everton and Wales under-21 player, Gethin Jones, so that he’ll be available for the matches. Manager John Sheridan has worked wonders with a small squad and several loan players, but they might just come up short at the final hurdle.
The same accusation could probably be leveled at Stevenage, who are the rank outsiders to earn promotion, but we already tipped them last week, and still think they are the value call in a very tight play off situation. Stevenage manager Graham Westley, is aware of how tough it will be against Southend, but his side have already beaten them once at home this season and have nothing to fear. If they can grab a lead in the first leg, they might just be able to see it through for an appearance at Wembley.
First Leg Fixtures
The first leg fixtures are set to be played over the weekend, with Plymouth and Wycombe set to do battle on Saturday night, and Stevenage and Southend locking horns on Sunday evening.
Saturday 9th May
7.45pm – Plymouth v Wycombe
Plymouth – 11/82.38+1381.381.38-0.72 with Ladbrokes
In Saturday’s match Wycombe stand out at a very nice price to beat Plymouth, and they are worth following in this particular fixture. Interestingly, the away side has been victorious on the last five occasions these two have met, with Wycombe winning three in a row at Plymouth, and the Pilgrims winning the last two times they’ve visited the Chairboys. Wycombe won here 1-0 in September at the start of the season, and they seem a very big price to do so again. Both teams are in good form of late, and it will be an evenly-contested affair, but Wycombe are certainly the value call.
Plymouth have been decent at home this season, and they’ve only lost once in ten on their own soil, with five wins and four draws. However, Wycombe have been equally impressive on their travels, also losing just once in ten, with six wins and three draws. Something has to give tonight, and Wycombe look great value considering they’ve won on their last three visits to the South Coast.
Southend had got themselves in such a good position at the start of the weekend, only to shoot themselves in the foot with defeat at Morecambe. The writing was on the wall when they went a goal down inside four minutes, but they quickly fought back and equalized on ten minutes, only for two second half Morecambe goals to put the game, and promotion beyond reach. It’s not easy to assess how much that will play on the teams minds, but after getting so close, the play offs must seem like a mountain they could do without climbing.
It’s a totally different kettle of fish for Stevenage, who have been looking forward to a play off appearance for a few weeks now, and have much less pressure on them than the visitors. Southend have been among the favourites to get promoted all season, and their run of seven wins almost got them there. The pressure is all on the Essex side, who will feel the weight of expectation across these games. Stevenage were never expected to challenge for promotion, and are in a position where they have little to lose and everything to gain.
Form-wise, we know that Southend had won seven in a row before that defeat at Morecambe, and they’ve also won 4 out of 6 away games, with the other defeat coming at Champions Burton. Stevenage lost away at Luton over the weekend, but they were already assured of their play off spot, so had little to play for. Before that they’d won four of five games, and at home their record has been very good. It’s six wins from eight matches on home soil, and they beat Southend here 4-2 as recently as February. They’re a very good price for a team playing at home, and are worth backing to take advantage of Southend’s disappointment at missing out on the top three.
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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