The Due Luxury Of The Football League Trophy, Pt.1

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Paint PotThat fixture computer can be an awful cad sometimes. It’s been just over a week since the dispiriting 4-1 reverse at MK Dons but once again we find our paths crossing – this time in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. It’s hardly an ideal set of circumstances; would you enter a poker game the week after blowing your life savings with just two pairs. You went all that way on two rotten pair?

We might as well carry on with the card analogy and concede that this is the hand we have been dealt and one we have to play. The Paint Pot Trophy is hardly an easy competition to call – some teams put out the stiffs, some opt to experiment and others see it as a potential Wembley day out. For Boro’, who knows? There were times we didn’t see the FA Trophy as much cop, but we ended up winning it twice. And nearly thrice!

If nothing else, it’s a chance to throw some players into the mix that are on their way back from injury. Or the kids’ training ground. GW could do a lot worse than to start this match with the same team that ended the last one, and you’d also like to think that Francois Zoko and Bruno Andrade will be involved to some extent. Our cards have been slightly shuffled since last week’s trip to Stadium:MK, as you can see.

For the first time in three seasons, our first involvement in the competition is not against a lower league opposition. Not that it should count for much – we’ve only ever won one game in the Football League Trophy and that was against Swansea City back in the day. With the help of a bye to this round, we’ve equalled our best showing in the tournament. It’ll be just as unprecedented as it is delightful to win this one tonight.

FIFA14 Verdict:
It came to our attention that since we discontinued the match preview blogs and the FIFA verdict, our form has slumped alarmingly. So if we win, you can credit us as much as you’d like to. So let’s get down to business:

Boro’ Starting Line-up:
Day; The Wedge, Ashton, Hartley, Roarasaurus; Morais, Doughty, Dunne, Freeman; Lopez, Tounkara

Much thumb mashing was done as we tried to get to grips with FIFA 14’s updated method of controlling players. But after 35 minutes, we overcame our difficulties to take the lead – Morais tapping in from Lopez’s ball across the area. The glorious revival of Stevenage FC was underway and ain’t no MK gonna take us down. That elated mood lasted all of 90 match seconds (20 seconds in real life).

After a litany of misplaced slide tackles by the midfield, Jon Ashton turned down a chance to clear the ball and some fella called Green equalised. Then shortly after half time, one of their other players drove home from 18 yards to put the visitors in the box seat. Think of a phrase that rhymes with “clucking bell”. On came Shroot, Tansey and Akins for Tounkara, Morais and Dunne. Mentality was set to attacking.

Amid the dying embers of stoppage time, the equaliser! Lopez to Akins on the edge of the area; Akins takes one touch past his man and fires low into the bottom corner and it ends 2-2. We go to pelanties and your man Green makes a mess of his to give Boro’ advantage in the spotkick stakes after Akins had already scored. Four more perfect pelanties mean a 5-3 victory for Boro’. Advance Stevenagia!

Bookie Bashing:
Now please try to look surprised when the bookies tell you they’ve looked at the respective form of both us and them, and come to the conclusion that they’re more likely to win. It is currently possible to get MK Dons at evens, but you can get us at 3s with Boylesport – and isn’t that a tasty little treat? Under 2.5 goals also looks particularly appealing and you will find prices consistent across the board. At the time of writing…

Team Tarot:
We’re on a hiding to nothing with this one so publish and be damned:
Day
The Wedge | Ashton | J.R. Hartley | Roarasaurus
Morais | Doughty | Dunne | Freeman
Lopez | Zoko

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