Mark O'Haire - Back Barrow Again & Side With The Sulphurites

7 min

Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire returns to share his favourite fancies from the weekend with a pair of plays proposed from the EFL.


Barrow did the business for us on Good Friday with a comprehensive success over Grimsby and the Cumbrian side are well worth supporting again when they welcome out-of-form Swindon to their fortress Holker Street home on Saturday.

Despite following up that eye-catching effort with an away-day defeat at Morecambe, Barrow remain in the thick of the League Two promotion picture with Pete Wild working wonders on a miniscule budget to keep the Bluebirds in-touch with the top end.

The bulk of Barrow’s best work has been achieved at Holker Street and there’s a solid case to suggest the hosts should be shorter than 1.70 for the weekend’s fixture. Wild’s outfit have now posted W11-D7-L2 in front of their own supporters, including W10-D5-L1 when welcoming teams currently below them in the fourth-tier standings.

My ratings rank Barrow third on home Expected Points (xP) and Expected Goals (xG) ratio, with the Bluebirds proving particularly dominant in front of their own supporters since the start of February (W5-D1-L0) – the Cumbrians have claimed four clean sheets in that same sample, as well as shipping only 14 goals in 20 overall encounters as hosts.

Terrible travelers Swindon now make the long journey north. The Robins made an impressive start to the campaign, avoiding defeat until October, but inconsistency has blighted their season since – Town have returned W7-D7-L18 over their past 32 fixtures, with their away results during that same sample reading a horrendous W1-D4-L11.

Swindon have suffered four defeats in their most recent five fixtures, managed only three shutouts across all venues since mid-September and have shipped a humungous 45 goals on their travel. No side has picked up fewer points on the road than the Robins, making Gavin Gunning’s group easily opposable this weekend.

  • Barrow to win in Barrow vs Swindon – 1 unit @ 1.73


Harrogate are the League Two data-defiers. My performance data rankings have the Sulphurites rock-bottom on away Expected Points (xP), operating with the second-worst Expected Goals (xG) ratio on the road. However, only the top-two teams in the division can boast a better away points haul than Harrogate in League Two (W8-D8-L5).

Simon Weaver’s side are an erratic bunch but remain only four points off the play-off places have refound their form in recent weeks. Following a headline-making 9-2 annihilation at Mansfield, the Yorkshiremen have reground, battened down the hatches and have recorded three clean sheets in five, largely against high-calibre opposition.

The Sulphurites squeezed out creditable goalless draws away at high-flying Barrow and Wrexham, slammed Bradford 3-0 in the derby before gaining a well-deserved point at Wimbledon on Good Friday. But Town produced arguably their best effort of the season on Easter Monday, tearing Gillingham apart in a resounding 5-1 success at Wetherby Road.

Next is a trip to a Notts County side that’s crawling to the finish line. Expected to challenge for top honours in the ante-post market, the Magpies campaign started to unravel towards the end of October. Luke Williams’ departure as coach has escalated matters and the club has sunk to 16th, equidistant to the relegation zone, as the play-off places.

The raw numbers surrounding County’s crumble are grim. Notts have lost 16 of their last 26 League Two tussles, including nine of their most recent 13 – the Magpies have managed only six clean sheets all season and the side have shipped multiple goals in eight of their last nine. Things look particularly bleak when you view their Meadow Lane record.

Notts County have been beaten in five of their last seven home showdowns (W0-D2-L5), conceding twice or more in six of those seven dates. The Magpies have returned only W2-D2-L6 when welcoming top-half opposition and in the reverse fixture at Harrogate back in December, they were soundly beaten 3-1 by the Sulphurites.

The market has already moved heavily in Harrogate’s favour yet there’s still juice to keep the visitors onside and I’m happy to support the Sulphurites with a +0.5 start at odds-against.

  • Harrogate +0.5 in Notts County vs Harrogate – 1 unit @ 2.1

Recommended Bets

  • Barrow to win in Barrow vs Swindon – 1 unit @ 1.73
  • Harrogate +0.5 in Notts County vs Harrogate – 1 unit @ 2.1

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