Portsmouth v Barnet - Saturday 15:00
Portsmouth have started kicking towards the Fratton End in the first half of recently, aiming to put visiting teams under the cosh from the first whistle - and it’s worked. In their last two home games, Paul Cook’s men have scored three times inside the opening 45 minutes, holding out for a comfortable 3-0 win against Crawley and beating Wycombe 4-2, despite falling behind early on.
You can see the logic behind the strategy but it’s a double-edged sword that might, on occasions, haunt Pompey when opponents stand up to the early onslaught. Barnet have enough experience running through their spine to put the theory to the test. Martin Allen could easily name a team containing seven or eight outfield players with 250 league appearances.
So the Bees aren’t likely to be overawed by the prospect of playing in front of a 16,000 partisan crowd and their previous efforts on the road this term would suggest the away win is worth a nibble at 13/2. They were 1-0 winners at Mansfield a fortnight ago and were 1-0 up before a torrential downpour at Newport the week before that, four days after taking MK Dons to penalties.
Portsmouth have held their nerve on a couple of occasions when level at the break, winning late against Colchester and Exeter, but last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Accrington echoed the pattern of many defeats last term. Take the 14/1 available on the Draw/Barnet half time/full time option.