Goals could be plentiful in Saturday's FA Cup first round clash at Merstham.
Merstham v Oxford - Saturday 12:30, BT Sport 1
Michael Appleton boasts a fine rceord in cup competitions, so we should expect his Oxford side to be switched-on and professional for this televised clash against the Isthmian Premier League debutants. The U’s boss has claimed six higher-division scalps during his time at the Kassam, so he knows all about the unederlying chemistry behind any underdog victory.
Mertsham, from the seventh tier of the English football pyramid, have goals in them. They bagged 19 in four league outings during September, until their cup exploits took hold and focus began to wane. However, their last ten home matches (in all competitions) have produced 46 goals overall with half of them copping over 4.5 goals, so there’s apparent value in the 5/2 about that bet here.
It’s not in the Moatsiders nature to sit back and soak up pressure, so even if they do attempt to keep things tight initially, you’d still fancy Oxford to break their resistence soon enough and potentially open the floodgates. In the past six seasons, 11 league clubs have visited Level 7 opposition and the average make-up has been 3.45 goals.
Most of them were League Two sides nowhere near Oxford’s calibre, yet the sample includes an 8-1 win for Mansfield at St Albans and a 6-1 win for Bristol Rovers at Totton, so there’s evidently mileage in the over 5.5 goals bet at 11/2 as well. Once the goals start going in, there’s no saying where it all might end but Merstham can contribute at least once, possibly twice.