The National League Play-Off Semi-Final Second Legs: Preview and Betting Tips

Updated Sunday 7th May 2017, 07:38 PM

After two pulsating nights of action in the National League semi-final first legs, the ties are poles apart as the quartet of teams head into their decisive second legs this weekend. While Tranmere Rovers look set to cruise to into the final following their 3-0 win away at Aldershot, Dagenham & Redbridge and Forest Green Rovers could not be separated as the two sides drew 1-1 at Victoria Road. However, with 90 minutes still ahead of all four teams, there’s everything to play for as the bright lights of Wembley await.

The Play-Offs

Tranmere Rovers v Aldershot Town (Saturday 12:15)

  • Winner: Tranmere Rovers 3/4, Draw 14/5, Aldershot Town 10/3 - Bet365
  • First Scorer: Andy Cook (TRA) 3/1, Andy Mangan (TRA) 4/1 James Norwood (TRA) 4/1 - Bet365
  • Correct Score: Tranmere 1-0 6/1, Draw 1-1 13/2, Tranmere 2-0 15/2 - William Hill

Three unanswered goals at the Recreation Ground in Wednesday night’s semi-final first leg all but ended this contest. Rovers seized control with just three minutes on the clock and never really looked like surrendering their advantage against an Aldershot side who struggled to cope with their opponent’s attacking flair. The win means that Rovers, who are now 5/6 to clinch promotion, seemingly have one foot firmly planted in the Wembley final on Sunday 14th May.

However, a 3-0 deficit is far from insurmountable (just ask Tranmere’s Merseyside neighbours Liverpool). Micky Mellon’s men will have to be on high alert if they are to avoid a humiliating collapse on home soil and make it through to what will be their first ever appearance at the new Wembley Stadium. Another goal scoring masterclass from Cole Stockton should be enough to see the team in white through. The striker is 11/2 with Bet365 to net first, while another brace for the 23-year-old looks just as tempting at 11/1. A clean sheet would also be enough to see the home side through, with goalkeeper Scott Davies priced at 29/20 (BoyleSports) to keep the Shots out.

If Aldershot are to turn this tie around, they will need nothing short of a miracle. The side who finished fifth in the National League have found goal scoring a challenge this season, netting an average of just 1.43 times per game. Gary Waddock’s boys, who are now 66/1 with BoyleSports to gain promotion, will need to seriously up their game if they are to salvage anything from this fixture. The Shots are 40/1 (Bet365) to grab the three goal win they need to take the game to extra time and 50/1 (Sky Bet) to triumph by four or more goals in 90 minutes. However, the travelling supports may ultimately be left disappointed on what could be a long, unrewarding afternoon at Prenton Park.               

  • Top Tip: Cole Stockton to score first 11/1 - Bet365


Forest Green Rovers v Dagenham & Redbridge (Sunday 15:00)

  • Winner: Forest Green 13/20, Draw 3/1, Dag & Red 15/4 - Bet365
  • Correct Score: Forest Green 1-0 6/1, Draw 1-1 7/1, Forest Green 2-0 7/1 - BetVictor
  • To Qualify: Forest Green 4/11, Dag & Red 21/10 - Bet365

Clear-cut chances were at a premium as Dagenham & Redbridge and Forest Green slogged out a 1-1 draw at Victoria Road on Thursday. The pace of the Daggers’ upfront pairing of Corey Whitely and Fejiri Okenabirhie terrorised the Rovers backline, but it was the visitors who took the lead thanks to a penalty from former Sunderland trainee Liam Noble. The home side, who only managed six draws all season, levelled the tie just before half-time as Jordan Maguire-Drew capitalised on a flicked header from club legend Paul Benson. The result leaves Sunday’s game at The New Lawn firmly in the balance.

Going into the second leg, Forest Green are without a win in their last four games, so have the Green Army run out of steam at the most crucial point in their season? Their ability to hold the Daggers on home soil suggests that the players still have the desire to make it to Wembley, but the division’s top scorers created few opportunities for themselves in a cagey first leg. Mark Cooper will be hopeful that his team can offer more in the return fixture as the Gloucestershire outfit look to record a 13th home win of the campaign. A home win is priced at 13/20 with Bet365, while a repeat of Thursday’s 1-1 stalemate looks tempting at 7/1 (BetVictor), with a win on penalties coming in at 16/1 (Sky Bet).

Dagenham, on the other hand, will be aiming to spoil the party as they look to continue their impressive away form this season. The London club picked up 14 of their 26 wins away from home, scoring 42 goals, the joint highest total of any club in the National League (alongside Forest Green) and manager John Still will be hoping to utilise his formidable forward line to clinch Sunday’s clash. A Daggers win in which both teams find the net looks good value at 8/1 (Paddy Power), while Bet365’s odds of 21/10  on the former Football League side qualifying for the play-off final also look quite handsome.       

  • Top Tip: Dag & Red to qualify 21/10 - Bet365


*Please note, odds may fluctuate.

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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 May 2017 07:38:35+00:00
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