After a couple of years away, the final game of the National League season is back at Wembley Stadium and the two biggest teams in the play-offs have made the final so we should be looking at a huge crowd and a great atmosphere as Chesterfield and Notts County battle it out in a 3:30pm BST kick-off on Saturday afternoon to see who will join Wrexham in League 2 next season.
Speaking of Wrexham, their Hollywood owners Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds have said they will be at Wembley to support Notts County as they believe the team who pushed Wrexham so close deserve promotion and it is hard not to disagree given they got 107 points during the season and Chesterfield finished 23 points behind them whilst finishing 3rd. As we know though, football doesn’t always work like that and Chesterfield will be desperate to get back to the Football League as well.
Can Chesterfield Cause the Upset?
Chesterfield deserved to finish 3rd for me because on their day they are the 3rd best team in the division, but the reason why they didn’t finish closer to Wrexham and Notts County is because they had two long periods without a win and they just didn’t have the consistency that the top two had. Relying on Joe Quigley for goals in the first half of the season was never going to work and it was a lack of goals that has hindered them. Even though Paul Cook addressed those issues by signing Paul McCallum, Andrew Dallas, and Ryan Colclough and to a certain extent that has worked, there have still been issues in scoring goals at times.
There have been a few games where they have lost or drawn that given the amount and the quality of chances they have had they really should have won. An example of that is back in February when they had over 20 shots against Oldham for an xG of 2.73 and yet they lost with Oldham having just 7 shots for an xG of 0.53. In March their game away at Woking was on BT Sport and despite them dominating they had to rely on a penalty to win the game in a match they should have won 3/4-0
They managed to just about get past Bromley on Sunday, but they went a goal down thanks to a goalkeeping error and then had to rely on an own goal, a sending off for Bromley and a free kick to get themselves in front. Bromley then caused the drama by levelling it up deep into injury time. Bromley then didn’t even muster a shot in extra time and, as he often does, Liam Mandeville got the crucial winner to send them to Wembley.
In my view that sending off was crucial and, without it, I think Bromley might have beaten them. It is clear though that Chesterfield do have the talent to match County if they play to the best of their ability, but you do worry if they are going to be clinical enough in front of goal to outscore them.
Williams Looking to Finish the Job
When I previewed their game against Wrexham last month I highlighted how impressed I was with County’s manager Luke Williams who in my opinion has been the best manager in the National League this season. He has had them playing some superb football and so many opposition managers have said that they have been the best team in the division this season.
If there is one small criticism I have it is that they play a high press and that has caused them to concede some really stupid goals. The high press led to the opening Boreham Wood goal on Sunday and then a defensive error caused the 2nd goal and that gave them a mountain to climb in the 2nd half, but defender Aiden Baldwin got his first-ever goals for County including in the 97th minute to send it to extra time. Jodi Jones then caused even more drama as he scored in the 121st minute to win the game.
County should never been in that situation though because they created some really good chances in the first half. Ruben Rodrigues has been a huge player for them in the last couple of seasons but he had 3 really good chances and he should have put at least one of them away. Then in the 2nd half he took a penalty which was saved and it was struck by a player who was low on confidence having missed those chances in the opening 45. I was surprised he took the penalty given he was not on it from a shooting point of view. It would not surprise me though if he scored on Saturday as he is a huge threat.
I obviously have to mention the scoring machine who is Macauley Langstaff who managed 42 league goals this season. He is however on a bit of a poor run for him as he has only scored 1 in his last 5 games, albeit one he only played 26 minutes off the bench. Having said that he has proven so often this season what a talent he is and I have been so impressed with his movement all season which makes him so hard to defend against.
Chesterfield vs Notts County Betting Tips
Given the drama we saw in both semi-finals, I hope we see another cracking game at Wembley on Saturday and I am fully expecting we are going to get just that. I don’t think either side’s defending are their strong points and, as County have shown this season, their defence have conceded some poor goals. They did against Wrexham on Easter Monday and they did it again against Boreham Wood on Sunday.
Whilst Chesterfield aren’t the most clinical in front of goal they do have some top players in their squad and I do think they will get at least one. Sadly for Chesterfield fans, I do think Notts County will come out on top. I think the Wembley pitch is really going to suit their style of play and I can see them creating plenty of chances.
County, not surprisingly, are odds on to win the game inside 90 minutes but, for me, the value is to back them to win and for both teams to score as I’m expecting at least one defensive error from County during the game, but overall I think County’s will prove too strong. I think we will see plenty of goals so I am happy to back over 3.5 goals and as for a correct score a 3-1 County win looks appealing.
You don’t usually get a chance to have a bet on a player to be booked at this level, but that market is available on this game and Chesterfield’s Jeff King has been booked 12 times during the season and was booked again on Sunday against Boreham Wood. He’s a fair bet to get booked on Saturday as he does love a reckless tackle.
Notts County to Win and Both Teams to Score @ 12/5 with Bet365
Total Goals Scored Over 3.5 @ 11/8 with Bet365
Notts County to win 3-1 @ 12/1 with Bet365
Jeff King to be Booked @ 13/8 with Bet365
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.
Join The Best Betting Community In The World
Get involved in all the betting chat for the upcoming National League action on our dedicated non-league forum. From trends, stats, and tips, we discuss anything and everything as we look to beat the bookies.