Don’t tell us that we’re crazy and don’t tell us we’re nowhere; take it from us, it’s hip to be all square. From the six League Two playoffs, our semi-final first leg against Southend United is one of just two to finish level after the first 90 minutes. That means we’re nicely poised going into the second leg at Roots Hall, even if our record on the Essex coast is nothing short of fear-inducing.
Now, we don’t think there’s too much need to go into detail about our latest opponents; mainly because you may recognise ’em as the team from just four days ago. If you can’t remember the events of four days ago, you’ve had a bloody good week. Or a quite terrible one. It depends on whether you’re a glass half-full kinda person; apt given the state of our playoff situation.
League Two playoffs: The second digs
What are the Shrimpers like at home? Well, they have a very good record; 12 of the 23 fixtures on their own turf went in their favour over the course of the season. They haven’t drawn a blank in front of their own fans for four games either. But looking at their attacking credentials at home and 19 teams outperformed them; just 25 goals scored in those 23 outings at Roots Hall.
And then you sway violently back to read that no team had a meaner defence indoors than Southend United; a mere nine goals conceded all season at their gaff, with a shut-out stretching back five games. It means we’re up against it somewhat, admittedly. Scoring looks as if it’ll be the hardest thing on our “to-do” list so we best start with that to make things a little easier, right?
League Two playoffs: The odds
With that healthy home record to fall back on, it’s a surprise to see Sky Bet offering evens on a Southend win over 90 minutes. Most other bookies have edged towards odds-on. Boro’, on the other hand, are best priced at 10/3 for the win. To make it through full stop, find us at 7/4. Under 2.5 Goals is 3/4 with the good folk of 888sport.com.
You’ll find as much use from this as you would staring at some crusty old bags of Tetley’s Tea for half an hour if you’re looking for clues to see which way the pendulum will swing at Roots Hall. If holding onto bits of straw is one of your summer pastimes, then we’ve made the final whenever there’s been a score draw in the first leg. Most people need a little more than that, however.
The bottom line is that we’ve had nothing to separate Stevenage and Southend United in 90 minutes of playoff football, so that means it’s all to play for in the second digs. Having not won at Roots Hall before isn’t ideal, but then we’d never beaten Torquay before the 2011 playoff final. It’s not like we’re afraid of making history. And don’t take it from us, but it’s hip to be all square…