Newport is anchored to the foot of the English League Two ladder and Carlisle is the division’s only undefeated team but one thinks that the Exiles are overpriced to beat the Cumbrians in Saturday’s match at Rodney Parade.
A series of unsuccessful managerial appointments – Terry Butcher, John Sheridan and, most recently, Warren Feeney – have jeopardised Newport’s English Football League status and now the Exiles have turned to one of the competition’s most polarising figures, Graham Westley. The marriage of Newport and Westley may end in tears but the controversial character usually gets positive results early on in his tenures and the Exiles have performed relatively well following the arrival of their new boss last month.
Westley officially took charge of Newport on 10 October and, after presiding over back-to-back losses to 11th-ranked Yeovil and top-of-the-ladder Plymouth, he has seen the Exiles go 2-2-0 across all competitions, including registering a 3-1 win at ninth-placed Accrington.
Carlisle has won eight games on the bounce and the Cumbrians have 22 matches since losing 0-2 at home to promoted Oxford in last season’s English League Two. Those are very imposing numbers but Carlisle is not Barcelona, Bayern Munchen or Manchester City and Keith Curle’s side is long overdue to come a cropper. And there are statistics that suggest that Carlisle has ridden its luck in many of its recent matches.
For starters, Carlisle has not kept a clean sheet in any of its last five games, conceding at least two goals in three of them. Sixth-tier St Albans scored three times at home to Carlisle in the English FA Cup first rounds and the match was tied at 2-2 before Cumbrians top scorer Jabo Ibehre netted the first of his two goals in the 71st minute.
According to the English League Two shot data, Carlisle is punching above its weight to be second on the ladder and unbeaten. Carlisle ranks fifth in English League Two for shots, seventh for shots on target, 19th for shots against and fifth for shots on target against. Remarkably given Carlisle’s high English League Two ranking, the Cumbrians have had fewer shots than they have allowed. You will not find many title contenders with a negative shot difference.
Newport has a negative English League Two shot difference but its shot statistics are superior to eight of its 23 divisional rivals. Newport has the potential to climb to the middle of the English League Two ladder, while Carlisle is likely to slide down the rungs as the season progresses.
Betfred is offering odds of +300 about Newport recording its third English League Two victory and inflicting Carlisle’s first loss. Bookmakers around the world have been trimming their prices about Newport since the Exiles posted a 2-0 English Checkatrade Trophy home win over Wimbledon on Tuesday but the Exiles still represent good value.
If you are a fan of head-to-head records then you will be pleased to know that Newport has beaten Carlisle in all four meetings of the sides since the Exiles rejoined the English Football League ranks at the start of the 2014-2015 season.
Newport to beat Carlisle
Saturday 12th November, 13:00 GMT