Hartlepool is one of the form teams of the English National League and the Monkey Hangers should be shorter odds to win its home match against Eastleigh on Saturday than bookmakers are offering about one of this term’s fifth-tier newcomers.
Hartlepool made international headlines last season when its most famous fan, sports broadcaster Jeff Stelling, used the platform of his live television show in the United Kingdom to implore then Monkey Hangers manager Dave Jones, to quit. Hartlepool did not escape relegation to the English National League following the departure of Jones but his removal made Stelling and most Monkey Hangers supporters feel better.
It took seven English National League for Hartlepool to post its first win in the fifth tier but now the Monkey Hangers are on a run of five victories and one draw from their last six divisional games, with their most recent result being a 2-1 away success over the other side to drop out of English League Two last term, Leyton Orient. Eastleigh, on the other hand, has accrued just five points from its last six matches to fall below Hartlepool on the English National League ladder – the Spitfires are 16th, one rung and two points behind the Monkey Hangers after 11 rounds of action.
Marathonbet is listing Hartlepool at odds of +144 to extend its five-game unbeaten run with a home victory over a side in Eastleigh that has not won for more than one month. If you accept that +120 are the mathematically correct odds for a home team to win a match versus an equally talented away team then, if you reach the conclusion that Hartlepool is superior to Eastleigh, you have an obvious value wager.
Eleven rounds means that the English National League is not far off being 25 per cent complete so there is a sufficient amount of collateral form data into which to sink your teeth. Hartlepool and Eastleigh have had six common English National League opponents – Dagenham & Redbridge (third), Bromley (sixth), Maidstone (seventh), Leyton Orient (13th), Fylde (20th) and Guiseley (22nd). According to one’s English National League collateral form analysis, Hartlepool enjoys a clear 4-0-2 advantage over Eastleight because the Monkey Hangers have outshone the Spitfires against Dagenham & Redbridge, Maidstone, Leyton Orient and Guiseley.
Craig Harrison is Hartlepool’s boss. Harrison hails from nearby Gateshead and he joined Hartlepool after six Welsh Premier League titles in a rows as manager of The New Saints. Leading The New Saints enabled Harrison to test himself on the international stage but, after six years coaching TNS, it was time for him to test himself in another environment and the challenge of returning Hartlepool to the English Football League was too tempting to turn down. One is willing to forgive Hartlepool for its slow start to its English National League campaign because Harrison made a large number of changes following his arrival in May and, understandably, the Monkey Hangers are a work in progress.
Eastleigh hired Richard Hill in February so he does not have the same excuse as Harrison for his team’s relatively poor start to the English National League tournament. Hill is in his second spell in charge of Eastleigh having led the Spitfires to promotion in 2014. Eastleigh’s form across all competitions has been on the slide since Hill’s honeymoon period ended in April and one thinks that the Spitfires may end up regretting reuniting with Hill. Eastleigh is 0-4-4 in its last eight English National League away games and there is no logical reason why the Spitfires are so close to Hartlepool in the betting market on Saturday’s match.
Hartlepool to beat Eastleigh
Saturday 23rd September, 15:00 GMT
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