Walsall v Stevenage [Preview]


By Pete H

As we return to League Two action with a big spring in our step, can we build on a promising few days to bring home another win? The FA Cup is what it is. We’re into Round Three – who ain’t happy about that? But it’s not the bread and butter and we can park the idea of playing Swansea until early January. For now, it’s about hoovering up some more league points to drag us away from a part of the table we thought we’d left well behind last season. And it’d be so lovely if Walsall, on this occasion, would be so obliging.

Our performance against the Tigers made a mockery of our current position. We went head-to-head with the League One leaders and came out on top. They made eight changes to their side, did they? So what? We made five. And yet it pretty much won’t count for diddly squat if we don’t use that to our advantage in the league. We now know more about what this side is actually capable of. The hope is we show that once again – this time at the Saddlers’ expense.

The Details: Walsall v Stevenage

Can I bet on Walsall v Stevenage?

Now, you can indeed take a punt on the outcome of Boro’s latest League Two outing. After all, today is a day that ends in ‘…day’. We’ve given you some of the main ingredients you’ll need to make an informed call. Y’know – stuff like recent form, history and our referee. Not that we take too much heart from some of it, you understand. All the signs point towards a home win – but let’s not take it for granted.

If a Boro’ win is going to be the foundation of a bigger accumulator, the likely price could have a dramatic affect on the total odds. To see how the thought of a Boro’ win could boost a 2+ fold bet this midweek, use the calculator on bonuscodebets.co.uk. With our match part of a much bigger programme of footballing action, there are certain to be options to tempt you. Of course, you don’t even need Boro’ to be part of it.

But let’s back the lads, eh?

Can I watch Walsall v Stevenage?

It was such a novelty to catch all the action live via the Beeb at the weekend. But the FA Cup is a different kettle of fish, and we’re back to more mundane matters of League Two. As such, iFollow is providing your live and exclusive coverage that’ll let you catch Boro’ at the Bescot. For season ticket holders, it might be the last time you have to do this…

As ever, a Single Match Pass is also available to buy if you want to see if we can follow up our win against a) Port Vale or b) Hull City. You can delete one of the two if you want.

Where’s the game?

To the West Midlands, then, and a stadium in the shadow of the old M6.

How are Boro’ shaping up…?

It’s hard to take our last two matches and work out what it means for our hopes up at the Bescot. The Hull result can only be taken in isolation; a cup match against higher league opposition where the motivation – and rewards – are completely different. In League Two terms, we come into the back of this off the back of beating Port Vale last week. But Boro’ have much to do to improve our overall record.

Ultimately, we’re still at the bottom end of the table with the joint-worst record on the road and a less-than-ideal return in front of goal. The good news is that we can continue to put it right here. It’s been a long time since we recorded back-to-back league wins. Could we? Maybe? Or is it asking too much too soon?

… and how are the Saddlers doing right now?

If we were to call them League Two’s draw specialists, they’d do well to sue us for libel. The eight draws in 14 league games is our legal defence in that case – hopefully it holds up. But we’d say the Saddlers are on a an inconsistent run at the moment; picking up one win and two draws in the last six. It comes after they started the campaign by going eight unbeaten (six draws, if you’re counting).

For us, there are some shards of light emerging out of the latest data from soccerstats.com. The Saddlers struggle to score; 43% of their games indoors failing to yield a goal. To be fair, we’ve only scored three fewer goals than them all season. The main difference in our respective fortunes, therefore, seems to be that they picked up draws where we picked up defeats. So, don’t be looking at this fixture with the expectation of goals all over the shop.

Then again, it could end 5-5.

Our story with Walsall so far

It’s now a year and a week since we last met the Saddlers. So, it’d seem this is the time of year that we’re expected to make some form of annual pilgrimage to the Bescot. Huge if true. As we didn’t manage to get our home fixture in last season, it means Walsall are in a select band of clubs who didn’t manage to take at least three points off us in 2019-20. What our goalless draw at their place did mean, however, is that our head-to-head record remains balanced.

It’s nine years since our first encounter and, in that time, we’ve won two apiece; three others ending in draws. They’ve never won at ours and we’ve never won at theirs. Time for change?

Last Time Out: Walsall 0-0 Stevenage, 23 November 2019

Who’s the referee in charge?

Marc Edwards.

Mr Edwards isn’t a ref that we know too well. Just one previous encounter is all we have to report; a goalless draw up at Mansfield Town towards the start of last season. In itself, it doesn’t sound like too much of a bad omen. But that really does depend if you’re the kind of fan who thinks the choice of ref can have a bearing on the outcome of a game. We could, to be fair, be a tad naive there.

For the season so far, this will be Mr Edwardseseseseseses 12th appointment. And not one has ended in an away win yet. In fact, all but two of 11 have landed as home wins. The two that didn’t were draws – though one of those saw Barrow and Leeds United U21s share four goals in the Papa John’s Trophy, with the Bluebirds going on to take it on penalties. So, that’s all but one ending in a home win then. Do we grudgingly congratulate Walsall now?

Last Meeting: Mansfield Town 0-0 Stevenage, 24 August 2019

Walsall v Stevenage: Our verdict?