Green Machine


By Pete H

Could third time be the charm for Mark Sampson? Or is this infernal wait for a win gonna drag on? If it does, that does mean we’ll be looking at next week’s game indoors against Cambridge as lucky unlucky 13. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and write this trip to Forest Green Rovers off too soon. There are still three ethically-sourced, carbon-neutral points on offer this Saturday. And we may as well make a play for ’em. Might even blag ’em.


Forest Green Rovers v Stevenage: The Preview…

Who are Forest Green Rovers?

FGR are now a long-term foe of Boro’s and, by the end of the season, we’ll only have played Woking and Morecambe more times. Who’d have thunk we’d still be taking ’em on 20 years on when we first met in 1998? Not us, at least. But, here we are. And there we go, over to the New Lawn this weekend without a win against Rovers in four outings. It has not been the happiest head-to-head for us in recent times. Whatcha’ gonna do about it Mr Sampson?

Our Record vs Forest Green Rovers: P 31 — W 13 — D 11 — L 7 — F 56 — A 43 — Pts 41
Last time out: Stevenage 0-2 Forest Green Rovers, 26 January 2019

What’s their current form?

After making a run for promotion last season, FGR are (so far) backing it up with a decent start this time around too. Like fellow their West Country sides Cheltenham and Swindon, Forest Green have 17 points from a possible 27; lying fifth on goal difference with five names to their name. But goals are not a feature of their games. A 2-1 defeat at Port Vale last month is the only one to see more than 2.5 in total.

Of course, there are ups and downs to this. On one hand, they’ve only scored one more goal than us in the league. On the other, no defence has conceded fewer. If there was a good time to strike against them, it’s the first 15 or the last 15. But we’d settle for a goal whenever – especially if it decides the match. It’s mainly ‘cos beggars can’t be choosers.

Got a fun Forest Green Rovers fact?

You’ve heard the one about them being 100% meat-free and their ground being powered by wind, rainbows and unicorn smiles, right?

Is she really going out with him?

You’re sat at home in your pants with a Pot Noodle reading our match preview. So – yeah.

What are the bookies saying?

Looking at the home win and thinking there’ll be no value in making a bit of cash out of our ongoing misery? Be quick to the bookies and you could get on Forest Green at 21/20. You won’t be shocked to learn that us winning could leave you significantly better off if you can hold your nerve. We’re in around 3s – maybe even 16/5 if you’re watching closely enough.

We’ve seen Under 2.5 Goals at 37/50 if you follow the FGR form too.

Which Forest Green Rovers player should we watch out for?

Not only is he helping to keep the FGR defence as tight as a Yorkshireman, skipper Joseph Mills is also in the goals too. The left-back, who also plays in left-midfield, has three to his name so far this season. And that’s no mean feat given that’s nearly half their total haul in League Two right now. Might be an idea not to give him too much space out there?

Who is reffing this?

Darren Drysdale. After a quiet four or five matches on the spin, this ref more than made up for it last time out by smashing out 10 bookings as Scunny drew with Oldham midweek. No reds yet this season for him, however. That could be something to worry about.

As for our fortunes when he’s prowling the pitch, there’s no middle ground. It’s win or lose. Our win away to Mansfield back in April ended a run of three straight defeats on his watch. That wasn’t so bad, we guess. And, who knows – maybe this won’t be a horror show either?

Our Record: P 11 — W 5 — D 0 — L 6 — F 13 — A 18
Last time out: Mansfield Town 1-2 Stevenage, 27 April 2019

And, finally, what do you reckon?

If you’re hoping to see some golazo action this weekend, The New Lawn probably ain’t the place to be. Then again, that’s something we’ve become used to this season. Rovers are a hard enough nut to crack for teams at the right end of the table. So, you can see the job we have on our hands here. But bundle home an early goal out of nothing and who knows…

Forest Green Rovers v Stevenage scorecast: 2-0 – there wasn’t much on display indoors against the Cobblers to suggest the tide is about to turn. Our guess is we’ll offer little width and too much space to their main man Mills to punish us down the flanks. It’s not gonna be a mauling though, because FGR don’t do that.