The John Stones Paint Trophy – it’s probably fifth in the list of our priorities for the season, behind the league, the FA Cup, the league again, the Herts Senior Cup. It’s only because we’re already out the League Cup that it doesn’t prop up the half-dozen in our list. Our enthusiasm for the tournament is, at best, limited. And we haven’t even got to grips with our wretched form.
“Oh, bu-bu-but we could get to Wembley!” Yeah, this pot does come with the promise of a ticket to the national stadium for the two teams that still give a hootenanny after all the regional matters have been settled. But so does the FA Cup, and we’ve shown far greater pedigree in that tournament – so, shall we put the idea of Wembley to one side for the moment.
Don’t ask us how, but we’ve somehow landed a free pass to the second round and a home draw against one of the lowest ranked sides left in. Dagenham and Redbridge have been gifted this wonderful opportunity thanks to a two-goal win against Cambridge United in the last round – and we’ll both be looking at this fixture and thinking “y’know, we could be onto a winner ‘ere…“.
If Oddschecker is on the money this afternoon, the odds on a Boro’ win are drifting with nearly all the bookies: 13/10 is the best price available (BetVictor), with 12/5 on a Daggers win the pick of a shortening lot. Jamar Loza is 14/5 (BetVictor, again) to net his first Boro’ goal, while a 0-0 scoreline after the full ninety is 13/2 (whaddyaknow, BetVictor).
The management can’t win this one; a win and it’ll be a case of writing off the significance of the tournament and then worrying that we don’t need the distraction of the next round if our league form remains so poor. And if we lose? Well, a mob descends on the Lamex with pitchforks, burning torches of straw and a box full of ready printed P45s for anyone who might be on hand.
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