FA Cup 2nd Round Predictions: Part One

fa cupHere are The Football Lab’s predictions for the FA Cup 2nd Round – upsets tipped at Brunton Park, the Proact Stadium and Kenilworth Road…

Macclesfield v Oxford

When Oxford travelled to leaders Scunthorpe last week, they would have been very happy with a point before the game and even more so when 1-0 down at half-time. After a dominant second half though, they were almost disappointed with a draw. Macclesfield drew 1-1 themselves last time out at Gateshead, but got their point in more fortuitous circumstances, having been forced into last ditch defending with goalkeeper Craig Ross coming to their rescue. He will need to produce another top performance to keep out the in-form U’s. 0-1

Blackpool v Brackley Town

When Gary Bowyer was manager of Blackburn Rovers, his side enjoyed good FA Cup runs and held the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool. Now in charge of Blackpool, his side must navigate past less glamourous opposition in Brackley Town. The Saints are not to be underestimated, having got past League One opposition in Gillingham, scoring six goals in 210 minutes – one every 35. Most non-league midfielders will drop deep against higher league opposition in fear of making a mistake, but Jimmy Armson has confidence. He will run forward with the ball and some of his goals were taken with impressive quality. 2-1

Carlisle v Rochdale

Carlisle United have picked up more points per game after conceding the first goal than any side in League Two. Rochdale, by contrast, have the second worst record in League One and this may come down to a lack of experience. Carlisle have strong characters such as Nicky Adams who, even when he is not having his best game, always wants the ball and keeps trying to influence things. They also have leaders such as Jason Kennedy and Mike Jones who can dominate a midfield. Rochdale still have a young side that can be guilty of naivety on occasion and they do not always chase a game in the most structured way. They can run away with games on their day, but when they concede the first goal, they sometimes self-combust. 3-1

Charlton v MK Dons

It is ironic that Karl Robinson’s first game in charge of Charlton Athletic comes against the club at which he spent six, largely happy years in charge. MK Dons were fortunate to win at Coventry last time out, a late red card and the introduction of Ryan Colclough and Ben Reeves changing the game. Charlton were even more fortunate to get a point against Sheffield United, the visitors creating far more chances before Patrick Bauer’s injury time leveller. 1-1

Chesterfield v Wycombe

In the First Round, Wycombe deservedly won 2-1 at Portsmouth, during which they restricted big spending opposition to just two shots on target. Since then, they have gone on an excellent run of four straight league wins that has taken them into the play-off places. This blog has been critical of Wycombe in the past – and still questions whether they have enough creativity to stay in the top six. However, they have conceded on average just one goal per game since August 2014 and you won’t see many better defences in League Two. 0-1

Luton Town v Solihull Moors

Liam McDonald has had a solid start to life at Solihull Moors. He appears to be getting the best out of Jordan Gough, who is a defensively sound left-back, Liam Daly continues to lead at the back while midfielder Jamey Osbourne and striker Akwasi Asante add attacking quality. Luton are fifth in the table but they have only won four of their last thirteen league games. Their midfield bar Cameron McGeehan has not looked great and Nathan Jones has been criticized for setting the team up to be too defensive at home. Moors have a chance of forcing a replay. 1-1

Plymouth Argyle v Newport County

Plymouth have had a dip in form. Their defence has capitulated in the last three games and they could have conceded more than two goals at Morecambe. Nauris Bulvitis and Sonny Bradley do not look their usual, reliable selves at centre-back. Newport have lost their last two, picking up eight yellow cards combined in those games. Some would argue they have been harshly treated by officials, meaning Paul Bignot and Darren Jones are suspended for this match. These teams are at different ends of League Two but both could do with a cup victory to halt any losing streak that might be developing. 2-1

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