The magic of the FA Cup… isn’t our concern this week. As the gaze of most League Two sides averts towards the world’s oldest marketed competition (or something), we’re making up ground. Like us, Doncaster Rovers would have been twiddling the thumbs this weekend but for some surprisingly common sense thinking from the League. Instead of rushing to complete this game during the week, we have the benefit of a full week’s rest. And it promises to be an intriguing pairing, you know. Here are two of what you may call ‘form teams’.
Let us put that into context. Boro’ take to the turf as having the fourth best record over the past six league outings. Doncaster, on the other hand, have the third best. We’ve both won four, drawn one and lost one; Rovers outnumbering us on both goals for and against. So, ebbs and flows and nobody knows. The bigger picture is much more in favour of our guests, of course. Our A1 cousins sit third in the table as they chase their return to the third tier. Funny that. It doesn’t feel all that long since this was a Conference fixture, does it?
Stevenage v Doncaster Rovers: Don The Helmets…
It is, in fairness, 13 years since we last met in non-league circles. Since then, we’ve met in that very third tier – or League One as it is known in lay terms. Donny had come down from the Championship ahead of the 2012-3 campaign. And, by the end of that very same season, were going straight back up. Times have changed, stars have fallen. It applies to both sides in that context. What are we up against this weekend, then? Well, the overall record for the season so far tells us that Donny are the best attacking team on the road. Fakinel!
A total of 17 goals in eight games on the road makes for a tale of a team who know where the net is. Mind you, they aren’t solid at the back with it. In fact, there are only four worse defences away from home in League Two – conceding 15. Goals are going to be on the cards then, no? And that can’t be bad for a fixture that, in days gone by, loved throwing up a nil-all stalemate. Oh yes. In 13 meetings prior to this weekend, five were goalless. But, perhaps most worrying from our point of view, is how long since we beat them in the league.
Take out a 3-2 FA Cup win in January 2014 and you have to trawl the records back to December 1999 for our most ‘recent’ league win against Doncaster. In a happy enough coincidence, this game comes so very nearly 17 years to the day of that league triumph. Dean Martin was on the scoresheet that day. When is he coming back? Anyway, the reward for a win here is significant. We have a chance to climb from 14th to 8th and still have a game in hand over everyone in the promotion zone. Let’s hope we don’t fall back to earth just yet then…
Stevenage v Donacster Rovers: Show me those hot League Two stats from Kick Off:
Stevenage v Doncaster Rovers: FIFA 17 Verdict
If it were up to us and our FIFA abilities, Boro’ will be left still waiting for that home league win this weekend. Not for the want of trying, however. In fact, it was quite an even game for the most part. We let ourselves down right on the stroke of half time with a spot of awful defending to gift Donny the lead. Schumey thwonked the bar from a free kick in the second digs, and Jack King saw red to leave us thinking it wouldn’t be our day. A questionable pelanty call came to our rescue, however, and Matty Godden put it home for a point.
BoroGuide’s Doncaster Rovers club profile – you don know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone…