Stevenage v Mansfield Town [Preview]


By Pete H

It’s not the falling down that counts. It’s the getting back up. And here Boro’ get a chance to do just that as we return home; losing our long unbeaten run last Saturday with defeat at Salford City. As disappointing as that result was, don’t cry because our run is now over. Smile because it happened. It’s the reason we’re now guaranteed Football League action next season. And that was far from being set in stone the other side of Christmas.

Now, it’s back to the Lamex for a double home header spread across four days. The first part comes in the form of Mansfield Town.


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The Details: Stevenage v Mansfield Town

Where’s the game?

Boro’ are back at the Lamex for two back-to-back home matches. Don’t take it for granted, however. We’re fast running out of them. This time next week, there’ll only be one to go…

Can I watch Stevenage v Mansfield Town?

By now, you should really know the answer. Of course you can watch the action unfold as Boro’ lock horns with the Stags this weekend. All you need is a decent internet connection and your iFollow Match Pass. The latter costs a tenner. The former? Well, we ain’t Money SuperMarket. Go ask them for the best deals on your broadband or mobile*.

You could even grab a few mates and gather around the phone in a pub garden. But we’d be wrong to suggest that. After all, that’d be priceless funds the club are losing out on.

* Believe it or not, we weren’t paid for that namecheck. We’ll invoice them later…

Don’t forget – this is a 12.30 kick-off.

How is Boro’s form looking at the moment?

Our unbeaten run took us right to the top of the League Two form table. It isn’t much of a shock, however, to learn that last weekend’s defeat has us falling back; Boro’ now sitting fourth based on the last eight. And there’s no great shame with that. Just one point from our last two fixtures, however, have surely ended any optimistic talk of making a late surge for the playoffs. What we’re likely to need and what’s left on the table doesn’t quite stack up.

With five games left, Boro’ can pick up a maximum of 15 points. Ain’t our maths super hot, eh? In a best-case scenario, that’ll take us onto 68 points for the season. Sadly, that’d get you 11th and no higher at the end of the 2018-9 season. The year before? You’d get ninth. Either way, it’s not a points total that we can see being enough for the top seven. And we need to win all five for that to even be up for debate. Again, we just don’t see it happening.

… and how are the Stags doing right now?

If not for a run of five straight wins over Christmas and into January, the Stags could be in a lot more trouble about now. Our guests will be pulling into the Lamex car park in search of their first win in nine – or third win in 18. It’s been an uneasy two-and-a-half months for them. Mind you, there are a lot of draws against their name in that time; six coming in the last eight alone. So, at least there are some teams faring worse in recent weeks.

With five left themselves, it’s highly unlikely that Southend United could make up the nine points and 20-odd goals still needed to drag the Stags under. It actually means that a win here (and a Shrimpers defeat) will all but secure their League Two survival. Don’t rule that out either. Our guests have collected 24 points from 20 on the road so far. That’s a couple of points more than the amount they’ve managed at home. And from one less game.

Not that any of their last eight away from Field Mill have gone in their favour.

Our story with Mansfield Town so far

It started well. But, in recent years, our head-to-head against the Stags hasn’t been much to brag about. Well, that’s not quite the full truth. At the Lamex, we’ve struggled against them. At theirs, it’s a better story. And that’s irrelevant as we’re hosting this one.

We’re now 16 meetings in – and the balance of the power is coming down on their side at the moment; seven victories to our six. Back at the start, it was a different story. We came out on top in four of the first five games between us. And we scored three times in each of those wins too. Since our 3-1 win at the Lamex in September 2014, however, it’s not been easy to watch. We’ve gone on to lose three and draw one when the Stags were in town.

Last Time Out: Mansfield Town 0-0 Stevenage, 10 October 2020

Who’s the referee in charge?

Samuel Barrott.

Ah, Mr Barrott – remember him? No. You don’t. And we know you don’t as this is the first time we’ve met the West Riding ref; promoted to the Football League panel last summer.

It’s been a busy debut season for the lad. This is game 29 for Mr Barrott, having stepped out in Leagues One and Two so far this season. His card count lands on the right side of average if you ask us; 77 bookings in 28 outings means he’s been waving his yellow less than three times a game. Reds? There are four of them to his name; three of which were spread across the month of January.

Last Time Out: n/a

Stevenage v Mansfield Town: Our verdict?

It’s hard not to be confident. On paper and current form, there’s not too much here for us to be worried about. But the proof of the pudding will be in how we bounce back from our defeat last week. If we don’t take that setback to heart, then we’d expect Boro’ to claim a win. Mind you, it also wouldn’t surprise us if this ended goalless. Let’s go with 2-0 though.

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