Well, the FA Cup went more or less as expected: Sheffield United took the lead against Fulham but probably blew their chances of reaching the next round after Michael Doyle was given a straight red card for an off the ball incident with Chris David. Preston drew at Nottingham Forest and will face Sheffield United or Fulham if they win the replay at Deepdale.
If you fancied some goals last weekend then Boundary Park and Meadow Lane were the stadiums to visit. Oldham were 3-0 down at home to Peterborough at half time but won 5-4 courtesy of two very late goald from Gary Harkins and Genserix Kisunga. Notts County keeper Bartosz Bialkowski had to pick the ball out of his net five times in less than an hour after Walsall went on the rampage: Febian Brandy scored a hat trick against one of his old clubs to earn the Saddlers a 5-1 win, their biggest away win in the league for well over a decade.
With a full programme spread over the next two days, the permutations are almost endless. If Orient beat Coventry and Brentford don’t earn at least a point against Bristol City, the Os will be top of the table this weekend. Wolves could go second if Orient lose…well you get the picture.
The bottom of the table is also currently a bit of a mess. Sheffield United, Stevenage and Bristol City all have three games in hand over Notts County and based on my very simple projection system I’d say all of the current bottom nine clubs could be relegated with Crewe, Notts County, Shrewsbury and Bristol City currently on course for a dramatic goal difference tie breaker on the last day of the season.
It’s the strugglers that I’m focussing on today: Stevenage entertain Crewe whilst Bristol City travel to Brentford. The Alex have never beaten Stevenage in any of their five league meetings since September 2010 and have only earned three away points from their last ten games with their last win coming at Colchester just after Christmas. Stevenage’s recent mini improvement at Broadhall Way seems to have come to an end: failing to score against Premier League opposition is one thing, but losing to fellow strugglers Notts County is another and they’ve not beaten any of the clubs immediately above them at home this season.
Brentford are currently on a nine game home winning streak with Marcello Trotta scoring nine of their 23 goals over that period. Yet although they’ve won five of their seven home league games against Bristol City since the turn of the century, the Bees have only won two of the last five encounters. City have lost four of their last ten away games but haven’t lost consecutive away games this season so although the hosts look like clear favourites, there’s some potential for a surprise result at Griffin Park later on. Don’t be too surprised if the visitors score: Bristol City have opened the scoring in four of their last ten aways and have only been shut out twice in the same period so there could be a few goals in this one.
I’ll be back on Friday with a look at the weekend games.