Bust a groove, it’s the all-singing, all-dancing Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Area Semi-Final – Southern Section. Rolls off the tongue, don’t it? In this season’s competition, we’ve already won more games than all of our previous cracks at this pot put together. In numbers, that’s two games won this season against the one victory in eight previous years – that was against some tinpot team called Swansea City back in 2002! Who knows what became of ’em.
It could well be destiny taking over once again, but we’re breaking all kinds of club records in this season’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. On that basis, it seems impossible that we won’t be walking out at Wembley next March. Of course, we all know that’s how it is supposed to work – but reality often doesn’t play ball and we’ll have to accept that Swindon Town might fancy their chances at this one too.
We’re clear that we have to be better than we were against Sourbridge on Saturday, but we won’t bang on about our recent form; we know what we need to do. Our hosts tonight have been doing fine of late, broadly speaking. Apart from a home defeat against league leaders Leyton Orient and an inexplicable thrashing by Macclesfield Town in the Cup, they appear good value for their seventh place in the league right now.
You can imagine GW wanting to keep changes to an absolute minimum when he comes to picking the starting eleven at the County Ground. Dean Parrett has made it a hard call; he might well get the nod ahead of Michael Doughty, but he might not. We’re still also of the opinion that going with two strikers (i.e. Jordan Burrow for Filipe Morais) might do a job, but Morais has good form in this competition. And that’s why we aren’t manager.
Annoyingly, we haven’t scored against Swindon in four straight attempts now. It doesn’t take much to realise we need to sort that out tonight. You know, if we want to actually do this Wembley thing in March…
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Stephen Martin – It looks like this will be the fourth time that Mr Martin has taken charge of a Boro’ game. Two of those occasions have been pretty good; the most recent time was a 3-0 win at Crewe this season, while the first time was the day we won the Conference up at Kidderminster Harriers. It’d be hugely welcome if those two could act as omens for tonight – rather than the 2-1 home defeat to Oldham in February.
This season for Stephen Martin:
Games: 18 — Yellow: 27 (1.5pg), Red: 0
Our record under Stephen Martin:
P3 W2 D0 L1 F6 A2 — Yellow: 4, Red: 0[/expand]
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Day; Smith, Ashton, Jones, Hartley; Akins, Parrett, Heslop, Andrade; Morais; Zoko
In the last round against Leyton Orient, we were quick out of the blocks and had them on the back foot from the off. But we managed to achieve the total opposite against Swindon – within three minutes, Luke Freeman conceded a free kick just inside in our half and from that we had fallen behind. The kick was punted long into the box and no-one felt the need to prevent the one attacker from helping it past Day.
Boro’ responded and responded well. An equaliser came on 17 minutes with Filipe Morais forcing his way between two defenders in pursuit of a through ball, before smashing it into the top corner. We edged the rest of the game but couldn’t find a winner, which turned out to be fatal – with penalties just five minutes away, Mason took advantage of some forgetful defending to secure the win. FT: Swindon Town 2-1 Stevenage (AET)
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Sign up with those good eggs at Titan Bet today and you can put down a tenner – risk free! Decent returns will be in store if you go with your heart and take a punt on Boro’ at 9/2. It seems as if you won’t get better at the time of writing. We do also think it is time we ended this run of not scoring against Swindon (F0 A8 in the last three games) so we’ll go on Both Teams To Score at 8/11 too. Other bookies available, of course…