Stevenage v Salford City [Match Preview]

By Pete H

So, we’ve now tasted our first defeat of the season. But it doesn’t need to be a big deal; not if we’re able to get it right this time. After getting the upper hand at Bradford last weekend, losing the second half battle – and ultimately the war – is hard to take. Barring any last-gasp positive Covid-19 test results after we hit “Publish” on our preview, however, we’ll be better prepared for this weekend’s clash at home to the Ammies. And that’s a boost in itself…

The Details: Stevenage v Salford City

Where’s the game?

The lights are on and Boro’ are at home. But the doors and windows are still all closed.

Can I watch Stevenage v Salford City

Yes! You can from wherever you are in the world. They’re even watching us in Gdansk. Well, probably. We’re huge these days thanks to Burger King. Match passes are yours for a tenner GBP. We don’t do currency conversion.

How are Boro’ shaping up…?

After the news came in at the 11th hour last week that three lads had the ‘rona, Boro’ went to Valley Parade a day later than planned. Did it have a massive impact on how things ended up on the day? That’s one that can stay between management and players. Do we even need excuses, however? We ain’t gonna win every single match. We had our chances too. We still have plenty to be upbeat about. Let’s see that shine through this weekend.

… and how are they looking?

If it matters, the Ammies currently have one more point than us and are yet to lose so far in League Two. Man Utd U21s did smash them 6-0 in the Trophy and Everton put them out of the Carabao Cup. But they’re hardly a useful comparison. So, let’s just make our focus on their first three league fixtures. In addition to a couple of home draws (Exeter and FGR respectively), there was a big day out away to Grimsby. In their only away league game so far, it finished 4-0 to the Ammies.

So, they’ll have no fear about their latest League Two travels. But that’s their lookout…

Our story with Salford City so far

Mmm, it ain’t great. A 2-0 defeat on the opening day of last season at their gaff set the long-term tone for us. Last time out, things improved to an extent. But we still failed to score and came away with another loss. And that result ended the fourth coming of Graham Westley, as it goes. By the time the next game came around, Revs was at the wheel and he’s driving us forward today.

Last Meeting: Stevenage 0-1 Salford City, 15 February 2020

Who’s the referee in charge?

Craig Hicks.

Now, ain’t this a rare thing. Last season, Mr Hicks took charge of us just once. And that ended in a win for us. Well, a win on penalties in the Trophy. But, we can’t really be that fussy. It’s slim pickings, after all. This season, this ref is now five matches down; handing out 14 bookings in the process. Last time out, the cards were kept in his pocket. We’ve not seen many bookings ourselves so far this season. Perhaps this is the game to buck that trend.

Our overall form on Mr Hicks’ watch is four wins from six; two pairs of wins falling down either side of two straight defeats. Now, this makes us worried that we have a run that’s keen to repeat itself. If so, that puts us in line for the next stretch of two defeats. What’s useful to know, however, is that football has no sense of obligation. There’s no reason a bad result is set in stone this weekend on that basis.

Last Meeting: Stevenage* 1-1 Fulham U23, 29 October 2019

I have £1 to bet – what are my options?

It’ll take some time for this new-look Boro’ side to change opinions in this division. So, it won’t be too much of a shock to see the Ammies leading the market23/20 the best you can get at the time of writing on an away win. And we’re out as far as 11/4 if you fancy a nice little home earner this weekend. As we know there are goals in this Boro’ team, we think a Both Teams To Score bet could pay its way (10/13). Elliott List, meanwhile, is an enticing 7/2 anytime goalscorer punt based on the season thus far.

So, what do we reckon? Well, when it comes to us and Boro’, there is a light that never goes out…