After 45 games, more than 4,050 minutes and two – or is that three – managers, the 2011/2 season and hopes of achieving an unprecedented third straight promotion hinge on one final match for Stevenage. Yet again, it is at home to Bury…
The Shakers had toyed with the lure of relegation in recent months, but have since pulled well clear. Now they are just one point further from the playoffs (14) than the bottom four (13). Just in case you thought it was going to be easy tomorrow.
Lest we also remind you, dear reader, that Bury are a contributory factor as to why Boro’ sit in the box seat for the last top six position. It was the victory over Notts County that reopened the door for Boro’ in the race for the playoffs.
A win tomorrow is, therefore, by no means a foregone conclusion. The form book? Well it’s straight out of the window. It’s almost like a cup game; a winner-takes-all pass into the top six regardless of how others around us might fare. Isn’t it fortuitous we have the players to cope in such scenarios… you can have your Tottenham games, but This. Is. It.
Team-wise, there’s a good argument – to our mind – to revert to a 4-4-2 formation that we see involves Reid back into the team, unfortunately at the expense of Robin Shroot. It is an extremely hard call to make, given last week’s performance, but Bury’s defence needs a few things to think about. In the early stages, get into them etc… With Agyemang pulling some strings, Reid will have the freedom of the 18-yard box.
Historically, Boro’ tend to fare well on the final day of the season. Since 1987/8, there have been 12 wins in 24 end-of-term encounters. We hear you snort “50 per cent – what’s that?” Well, seven of those 12 have come at home; Boro’s record on the last day at Broadhall Way is a healthy 70 per cent win rate, with two draws (ironically, one against Bury) and a loss – at home to Northwich back in days of yore.
Stevenage also average more than two goals scored per game at home on the final day and less than one goal conceded. Mind you, three of the nine goals conceded in those 10 home games were against Bury, last season. If that jangles the nerves again, there have been five clean sheets at home on the last day. It just depends if you rate those against York, Leigh, Southport, Harrow and Billericay…
Opta says we’ve lost just eight points from winning positions this year and have the second longest home unbeaten stretch at present. Behind Tranmere. And what of the bookmakers and their mood? Boro’ are the odds-on favourite to win as you might expect. William Hill’s 4/7 is the best current price for a home win; the draw is best with Boylesports at 7/2. Bury winning has a price of 11/2 at a few… LINKY: Here
Hmm. Isn’t there a lot to digest there… wash it down with some sense and sensibility with the Team Tarot for tomorrow’s testing trial of t…: