Inspector Clouseau
And so within the space of days we go from playing the top team in the league to playing the team that now sit at the foot of the table. Off we go to Shrewsbury Town and, well, it must surely be one of the most crucial games of the campaign? With six games to go, the the finish line is in sight and there is such a wild spectrum of possibilities that depend on the outcome of this game that it doesn’t bear thinking about.

Let’s put it simply for everyone – a win could lift us as high as 19th. A defeat could put us four points adrift of the rubber ring bobbing along the surface of the water. And yet again there are a couple of six pointers that could make things even more interesting; there’s an intriguing encounter between Tranmere Rovers and Colchester United that might just see the Us pulled right into the mire depending on how results go.

Do we have to win this game? We think yes. GW says we need three or four wins to keep ourselves in the division. There are six to go and two of those are at Sheffield United and Brentford… you barely need a second hand to figure how the maths work here. But it’s no secret that our record against Shrewsbury Town is weak. And when we say weak, think of a teabag that’s gone into a cup of luke warm tea for five seconds.

Apart from our first encounter with the Shrews, we’ve not beaten them. Our record down their way isn’t so much flawless but completely and utterly flawed. Yet we can look at our draw against Wolves on Tuesday night and believe that a match-winning performance can be pulled out of the bag. If we thought the hard work ended with the game versus Wolves, we’re more of the opinion that, actually, the hard work starts now.



[expand title=”WE’VE MET BEFORE…”]

30 Nov 2013 H Sky Bet League One 1-3
23 Feb 2013 A npower League One 1-2
01 Sep 2012 H npower League One 1-1
12 Feb 2011 A npower League Two 0-1
13 Nov 2010 H npower League Two 1-1
17 Apr 2004 A Nationwide Conference 1-3
01 Nov 2003 H Nationwide Conference 2-0



[expand title=”REFEREE WATCH”]
Now then, who do we have taking charge of this latest League One outing? It’s Richard Clark by the looks of things, so let’s have a gander at what he’s been all about so far this season. One thing that strikes us so far is that he’s been involved with some high scoring games; handed out a few red cards here and there; and his first encounter with Boro’ – a 2-0 home win against Crawley Town. Now isn’t that sounding all a little exciting?

• This season for Richard Clark:
Games: 27 — Yellow: 84 (3.11pg), Red: 9

• Our record under Richard Clark:
P1 W1 D0 L0 F2 A0 – Yellow: 2, Red 0


[expand title=”FIFA 14 VERDICT”]
Day; Mousinho, Ashton, Dembele; Obeng, Smith, Akins, Heslop, Freeman; Charles, Zoko

After a fine draw against Wolves, we came into this one with fire in our bellies and a real sense of optimism. A good performance almost seemed inevitable, but what we got was a bit of a let down. Boro’ just didn’t get going and, despite having a lot of ball and territory, never really made much of an impression on the hosts. And for the first part of the game, we were fortunate that it didn’t hurt us too much…

That changed on 26 minutes, however. Paul Parry got in behind the defence courtesy of a lovely ball over the top, and his finish was sublime. We almost stopped and admired that build up play for a moment, but remembered we had a job to do. The rest of the first half ended up being fairly even – you couldn’t tell who was winning, but just as important was the fact you couldn’t tell if anyone was losing. No urgency.

Into the second half and things gradually turned in our favour as the minutes wore on. A couple of substitutions revived things and one of them, Michael Doughty, thwacked their post on 70 minutes. But the width of the woodwork proved costly as defensive errors let the hosts double their lead on 78′. The game was now gone, but we kept plugging away – a consolation from Jon Ashton in stoppage time did help the goal difference, mind.

FT: Shrewsbury Town 2-1 Stevenage
(Parry 26′, Wildig 78′; Ashton 90′)





[expand title=”BOOKIE BASHING”]
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The bookies are having a tough time picking this one apart, with the home victory priced at 31/20 and the away win not too far behind at 7/4. And we’re not expecting goals from this one either – with an average of 0.9 goals at home and overall, Shrewsbury Town will not be proud holders of the worst Goals For record in the division. Us, meanwhile, aren’t bringing much to the party, with our average of 0.85 goals per away game.

Games that involve the Shrews this season average less than two goals per game, with a quarter of their fixtures returning Over 2.5 goals. So, it’s Under 2.5 for us (13/20) when we travel to Shrewsbury. We’re also both fans of the 1-0 defeat. We’ve lost 15 per cent of our games by that margin; the Shrews have lost 20 per cent. If you reckon it’s heading to their side, it’s 7/1… and it’s the same price if you think we’ll do ’em 1-0.

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