Stevenage v Colchester United [Preview]


By Pete H

For as long as our awful away record drags on, we’ll always look back to our home fixtures for encouragement. And here we are again; back indoors after coming up short on the road once more. Elliott List‘s strike at Sid James’ Park might have tickled the fancy of our fans who feel we’re always capable of producing a magical comeback. But a) we’re not, and b) we passed up yet another chance to take full control of where our campaign is heading.

This has the feel of a preview we wrote countless times last season. For now, we can say who goes down – and make sure that it isn’t us at the same time. But we’re now so tired and bored of writing off matches like Exeter away. We can probably make peace with another Devon defeat if we didn’t throw points away like Tranmere at home. It’s not as if Southend will keep dropping points. And, after this one, we’re at fellow strugglers Grimsby too.

It’s all to play for. So, let’s go about grabbing the initiative, eh? The first ‘return’ fixture of the season is now upon us…

The Details: Stevenage v Colchester United

Where’s the game?

It’s at the Lamex. And that’s a good thing (we think) because our away record is pants.

Can I watch Stevenage v Colchester United?

Of course! You can tune in live and see how we fare against the Us with an iFollow Match Pass. It’ll cost you a tenner – but there’s nothing new there. And we think this may be the 25th way we’ve found a new way of saying the same thing this season. If not more.

It’s not easy folks…

How is Boro’s form looking at the moment?

It doesn’t take an abacus and chalkboard to see how bad our form on the road is. So, it’s a good thing that we’re back indoors for this one. Of course, our home record isn’t the magic cure-all we’d like. But 15 points from 11 at the Lamex is far from the worst when compared to the rest of the division. That accounts for 71% of our entire points haul for the season to date. Not great – but some proof that, as points out, we at least do know how to handle ourselves here.

It’s not all glorious indoors, however. We’ve failed to score in more than half of our fixtures at the Lamex. As our head-to-head record against the Us shows (see below), we’re not on target often against them either. A good few of those who have taken home points from us are in the top half. This has to be said. Equally, it can’t be used as an excuse. We should make our guests work hard for their Lamex supper. And then still go home starving and unfed.

Let’s hide the ‘Welcome’ mat too.

… and how are the Us doing right now?

We might get a few complaints for putting this out there, but we don’t think there’s going to be a better time to play the Us. The Essex side haven’t won in the last seven games; their 1-0 win at Scunthorpe on 8 December being the last time they tasted victory. Even so, this isn’t making us sit comfortably just yet. After all, Boro’ have shown far too often that teams in need can take comfort and charity at our hands. We owe the Us nothing here.

So, what else can we learn from Well, the Us away form isn’t that much better than ours. Where we’ve taken six points from 11 on the road, the Us have played 12 on their travels; collecting eight points. We can’t talk too much about their goal count, such is the woeful nature of ours. But the Us aren’t exactly prolific (28 goals in 23 matches). We did find one stat to be wary of, though; Colchester scoring in 75% of their away fixtures.

Our story with Colchester United so far

It started with the big bang that was our 6-1 win at the JobServe Community Stadium back in 2011. And our form against the Us has pretty much gone to pot since. OK – it’s not quite as dramatic as that. But we’ve only added three more wins to our count, while the Us have hit back strong with nine wins from our 16 meetings. You’d think that we’d do better on our patch too. But that’s not the case. We’ve so far only managed to record one, single, lonely victory against the Essex side indoors. Not good.

That one home win over the Us came back in October 2018; our visitors scoring after only 86 seconds. Kurtis Guthrie got us back level just before the break, however, before a Ben Kennedy penalty (82′) and a Emmanuel Sonupe (84′) goal sealed the points. Now we fast forward to our most recent home match against the Us and – surprise surprise – it saw us struggle in front of goal; a 0-0 draw notable for little but Tom Soares’ sending off just over a year ago now. We’ve actually failed to score in four out of seven home meetings to date.

Last Time Out: Colchester United 3-1 Stevenage, 03 November 2020
Magic Moment: Stevenage 3-1 Colchester United, 06 October 2018 – our only home win against the Us to date.

Who’s the referee in charge?

James Adcock.

Now, Mr Adcock (we think) had been slated to take charge of the reverse fixture in Essex earlier this season. For whatever reason, however, this didn’t happen. So, it’s actually five years since we last crossed paths. Based on our result at the Hive that day, it’s perhaps a good thing that we’ve been on different courses. Mind you, our overall record with him on duty isn’t that shabby; four wins and three draws from our eight games making that trip to Barnet an exception to the rule so far. We hope that it remains the exception too.

This season, Mr Adcock’s services haven’t been used quite as much as other officials on the circuit. As he steps out onto the Lamex pitch for this one, he’ll be overseeing his 11th fixture – and his first since 28 November. Five of his 10 previous appointments were cup matches. Do we read something into that? Who knows! But we can say he doesn’t seem all that card happy; 19 yellows and two reds is how Mr Adcock’s current card count looks.

Last Time Out: Barnet 3-2 Stevenage, 19 September 2015

Stevenage v Colchester United: Our verdict?

If you ask us (which you won’t), we think we need a big result from this one for two main reasons. One, it’ll be really useful to take some winning momentum into our away day at relegation rivals Grimsby Town at the weekend. Two, our away record is so poor that we can’t trust us to do the job at Blundell Park. So, it’s essential we rack up the points at the Lamex to keep our heads above the proverbial.

We’re capable of getting the job done here. But sod’s law says Aramide Oteh is going to come back and haunt us. But let’s hope Luke Norris can do the same to the Us too.

Our guess? A draw: 1-1.