League One play-offs: Preston can finish off fesity Chesterfield
Jermaine Beckford is the difference between 11/10 promotion favourites Preston North End and Chesterfield at the halfway stage of their League One play-off semi-final. His sixth-minute winner in Derbyshire on tells part of the story, however.
At 9/2 with Coral to repeat his feat of scoring the opener when Simon Grayson’s side take the Spireites back to Deepdale, Beckford went onto embroil himself in the feisty atmosphere that underpinned the first leg.
Involved in an altercation with Chesterfield coach Paul Cook as the two teams came off the pitch at half-time, former Leeds United frontman Beckford grabbed his first play-off goal in six attempts, and is 6/5 to net again anytime.
As North End have the aggregate advantage and now play at home, they are odds-on 5/6 favourites for victory in 90 minutes and book their spot at Wembley. The Spireites were surprisingly physical, with Jimmy Ryan’s alleged swinging arm in the face of Paul Gallagher not appropriately punished by the referee.
Grayson will not want his players be drawn into such machinations, but does need a little more from League One’s leading marksman Joe Garner – a victim of the rough stuff meted out by Ian Evatt and company in Chesterfield’s back four.
At 10/11 anytime, Garner does look a little short, but he had got three in two against the Spireites from regular season matches. Fabulous odds of 4/1 say he shall score two or more here.
Former Chesterfield midfielder joined Gallagher in getting about the opposition in that first leg, so respective 2/1 and 5/4 anytime prices should be considered.
At 11/2 to be promoted, Cook’s club are rank outsiders and it’s no different regarding their second legs prospects at 10/3. The Spireites have to score at Deepdale and, judging by the tempestuous defeat last time out, Gary Roberts looks most likely at the same price.
Punters can enhance Preston’s odds-on price to win by backing another tight 1-0 victory at a super 6/1, with Grayson’s team being 29/20 to keep a clean sheet in front of their own fans.