We’ve already touched on the reasons why this fixture is as welcome as an arsonist at a fire safety convention. After failing to beat teams in and around us in recent weeks, this season is looking like it’ll have a deeply unhappy ending. Now we go to a side who made Hull City work for their place in the FA Cup final and who, despite being deep in trouble earlier this season, have pulled themselves handsomely clear of danger.
If you’re a glass half full kinda person, you could probably argue that we’ve got little left to lose this season – something that might go in our favour. But if you have a half drunk pint in front of you and it’s your round next, the best case scenario is that Boro’ aren’t to be found half beaten in a ditch on Saturday morning. Wolves are the only team to win at theirs since we last met, by the way…
Let’s talk mathematics. We can’t be relegated if we lose and everyone else wins on Good Friday. But that’d be all that was good about it. After that, it’d be a formality. Four points from safety – it could anywhere between one and seven come Saturday morning. Hope – it’s a very dangerous thing if handled incorrectly, just like pistachios, petrol and the mop supply of Luton. And yet there’s no training course teaching you how to deal with it.
So, it could be quite a significant weekend. According to a book we read, there was a chap who died around this time of year on a Friday and then rose again on the Sunday. It’s that kind of attitude that we need at Boro’ this weekend, but the analogy kinda falls through if, come Sunday, it’ll be too late to come back from the dead. Oh well, some things in life are bad, they can really make you mad; other things just make you swear and curse…
[expand title=”WE’VE MET BEFORE…”]
|21 Dec 2013||H||Sky Bet League One||0-0|
|16 Mar 2013||H||npower League One||4-0|
|17 Nov 2012||A||npower League One||1-4|
|14 May 2012||A||npower League One Playoff SF||0-1|
|11 May 2012||H||npower League One Playoff SF||0-0|
|28 Apr 2012||A||npower League One||2-2|
|05 Nov 2011||H||npower League One||2-1|
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Mark Brown is the man who has been chosen to take charge of this game, and we’ll be hoping for more of that good luck he seems to bring us. Just two previous occasions on which we’ve met Mr Brown, but both were away and both were victories; at Altrincham back in 2010 and at Yeovil Town last season.
With just one goalless draw under his gaze this season, we can also hopefully expect the trip to Bramall Lane to produce some goals. And on the other hand, he has been among the most lenient officials this season with just 2.34 bookings per game. Yeah, it appears there have been a few dismissals thrown into the mix, but the last one was in January – oh, and the last two games he’s taken charge of have ended with away victories.
• This season for Mark Brown:
Games: 29 — Yellow: 68 (2.34pg), Red: 7
• Our record under Mark Brown:
P2 W2 D0 L0 F4 A1 – Yellow: 1, Red 0
[expand title=”FIFA 14 VERDICT”]
Day; Obeng, Flanagan, Dembele, Charles; Mousinho, Doughty; Akins, Smith, Freeman; Zoko
We tried to guess how we’d line up for this one but it hurt our head, so we ditched all our preconceptions and went with a continental 4-2-3-1 look. We’re thinking Darius is back in the fold for this trip, so he took over left back duties and freed up Luke Freeman to move up the park into a position he’ll do most damage. We also went with Tom Flanagan at the back instead of Jon Ashton just to cover ourselves if the skipper misses out.
Boro’s early pressure and attacking intent was rewarded with the lead after 20 minutes as Jimmy Smith headed home unchallenged. But our inability to cope with the lead was once again shown up just 12 minutes later as the hosts levelled up from the pelanty spot after a terrible challenge from Tom Flanagan. And just minutes later, we were behind; an offside not given and Bira Dembele’s assist – it was all going a familiar shade of wrong.
We were expecting a mauling after managing to survive at 2-1 until half time. Instead, we found our hosts unable to press home their advantage and, on the hour mark, some good work from Luke Freeman was rewarded by Francois Zoko slotting home. A point started to look more likely as the half wore on, until we went one better in stoppage time – only bloody winning the game with Zoko’s second from a corner. If only, if only…
FT: Sheffield United 2-3 Stevenage
(Davies 32′, Paynter 38′; Smith 20′, Zoko 58′, 90+1′)
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It really shouldn’t knock you back two paces to learn that Sheffield United are fancied to win this one, but the price of 17/20 isn’t as awful as first thought. We’re 10/3, if the idea of an early Easter miracle suits you. Over 2.5 Goals at 23/20 looks tempting, while Both Teams To Score is an alright 19/20. You’ll get threes on there being three or more goals in this encounter, which we think is very reasonable. How about you?
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