Crying Wolf

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Two Ronnies - ClassWell, what do you know? It’s top versus bottom and if you’ve somehow managed to keep yourself in the dark about Boro’s progress this season, here’s a clue – we ain’t top. This is not what we’d consider the ideal game to have after a pretty lacklustre point against Port Vale, a side who has an away record less convincing than Tottenham Hotspur’s defending. We’re feeling just a little apprehensive about this match and that’s no April Fool.

Is there anything that we can say in favour of Boro’s chances?

Wolves have lost just twice this calendar year. That’s 2014, by the way. Those losses were at the hands of Crawley Town and Gillingham. Pretty unremarkable opponents, you could argue. And argue more convincingly if our record this season wasn’t so shoddy. But you’re not going to be wrong if you suggest that means we *could* be in with a chance of turning the form book on its head… if we get the game plan right.

On the road against teams from the bottom half of the table, Wolves don’t have a flawless record – they’ve won six out of 10, scoring a mere 16 goals. We’ve won just twice against a team from the top half on our own turf, netting just the eight times. Goals at home – even goals full stop – have been a problem for us this season. We’ve failed to find the net in 38 per cent of our games, compared with 18 per cent when we talk about Wolves.

From the last three games, we felt there were seven points for the taking and, because we only managed one, it means we just can’t see this one going our way. We’re running out of games to find the points we need to stay up, but we absolutely accept that it isn’t at such a critical stage that we must get a win against Wolves. But last time we looked, our number of games plays ticks over to 40 tomorrow night and that means we’re in the final straight.

One last kick round that bend Boro’, one last kick.

 

Here’s What You Need To Know:

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02 Nov 2013ASky Bet League One0-2

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After a flurry of red cards at the start of the season, it seems Dean Whitestone has now calmed down a bit. He handed out three red cards inside the first five games he was put in charge of, but only one in the 24 games since. And his yellow card count is also pretty low at less than three a game. In fact, there were no cards in his last game.

We’ve already had the pleasure of Mr Whitestone’s company this season, in the 1-0 loss at Swindon Town. And we reckon there no other official on the League roster with whom we have a longer history with. Nuneaton Borough in September 2001 was our first encounter – and our record ever since has left a little to be desired. Just two victories in 14 games; a 4-1 home defeat to Woking in there among the six losses. This doesn’t look good…

• This season for Dean Whitestone:
Games: 29 — Yellow: 78 (2.89pg), Red: 4

• Our record under Dean Whitestone:
P14 W2 D6 L6 F15 A21 – Yellow: 17, Red 0
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Team:
Day; Obeng, Ashton, Dembele, Charles; Akins, Mousinho, Smith, Freeman; Banvo, Zoko

The idea of Wolves turning up to our gaff with the sheer wealth of talent at their disposal isn’t something that breeds confidence. That’s why we set ourselves up in a standard 4-4-2 formation and hope the two banks of four would hold out. And to be honest, Boro’ were alright in the end – but not for the first time, we may come to rue silly errors that let our opponents back into the game.

The first half nearly ended horribly as Wolves danced their way through the defence. But Chris Day was equal to it with a sublime save and, once the corner was cleared, Boro’ got themselves ahead with a suckerpunch goal. Made all the better by a hilarious mistake by the Wolves goalkeeper. It was difficult to get ourselves into the lead, but we knew it was going to be difficult to stay there once the second half came around.

It looked as if we might actually hold out, however. We kept Wolves more or less at bay until the 70th minute, when Nouha Dicko was given too much time in the box to level it up. But Boro’ responded well, and Lucas Akins did a great job to find space for a cross; a cross that was somehow turned in by Zoko. A second chance at the win? Well, we blew it again. Michael Jacobs equalising with eight minutes left. Swear words uttered quietly.

Still, a point we might not otherwise have expected.

FT: Stevenage 2-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers
(Zoko 45′, 72′; Dicko 70′, Jacobs 82′)

 

 

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It’ll come as no surprise to learn that Wolves are heavily fancied for this one at 13/20, in comparison to the 4/1 you can get on a home win. With Wolves failing to score in just 18 per cent of their games (compared to Boro’s 38 per cent) so far this season, it’s unlikely it will finish 0-0 in this fixture. We’re not sure the 19/20 on Both Teams To Score is such a great price with that in mind, but then again we’ve scored in seven of the last 10.

In games involving Wolves on the road, 58 per cent have seen over 2.5 scored. On the flip side, the same percentage of Boro’s home games have seen under 2.5. But strangely, both Wolves away and Boro’ at home have averaged 2.58 goals per game – so you’d have to say that Over 2.5 would be the best way to go here at 21/20. And a fifth of Wolves’ away wins have been by a 3-0 scoreline (12/1). Let’s hope we bring that figure down.

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