Darren Sarll branded Stevenage’s 2-0 defeat against Notts County “unbelievably frustrating” after conceding two late goals due to lapses in concentration. They had displayed tenacity and endeavour throughout, but ended up switching off at crucial times, and Sarll was understandably dejected in the aftermath of the game. It does not get any easier next week as another top five club, Mansfield, visit the Lamex Stadium on Saturday.
Stevenage v Mansfield: Preview
It was a similar tale back in November when Boro’ travelled to Mansfield. They were pretty solid throughout, but lost out due to an individual error. That time it was Joe Fryer, who gifted the opposition a goal when he failed to collect a long free kick and let the ball drop to Kane Hemmings for a simple tap-in. Stevenage have struggled for goals on the road all season, notching just 14 in 18 games and conceding 32. And they failed to register a shot on target away at Mansfield.
Fortunately, Boro’ have a much better home record with 28 points from 17 games. During that time they have 32 and conceded 19. Home fans, therefore, are typically treated to far more exciting encounters than those that follow the team around the country. It also means that the Lamex is not an easy place to visit. Promotion chasing Mansfield will not relish the trip at the weekend.
Youwager will offer odds, review them first and find the best prices on the market. You will see that Stevenage are underdogs heading into Saturday’s game. Mansfield have secured four wins in their last six games, and their last away match saw them go to Exeter and get a 1-0 victory. Steve Evans’ men are priced around the 6/4 mark. It is also interesting to note that all the action is currently going on them nabbing an away win.
Boro have been written off before the game has even started, but there is room for optimism ahead of this clash. Mansfield may be in the top five and they may possess the seventh best away record in the league, but they have secured fewer points on the road than Stevenage have at the Lamex (24 versus 28). That suggests Boro could at the very least hope for a draw in this game. They need to create more and cut out the costly lapses in concentration, however.
“It’s unbelievably frustrating,” said Sarll after the Notts County defeat. “I thought for large parts of the game we controlled it. Obviously the six minutes and the two goals were an Achilles heel for us. I am quite pleased with the performance today but they have to understand that edge of winning and the penetration of their play in terms of attacking and possession.
“There is a very fine line between possession and penetration and we need to make sure we develop that. Saying that, I thought some of the young players showed great qualities out there. And I felt quite comfortable and fairly solid. We will kick on. The lads’ attitude has been good. We have just switched off in two key moments against a side that thrives on set plays.”
He hits the nail on the head really. Boro’ have lacked penetration regularly this season, failing to turn possession into clear-cut chances. So, they need to cut out the sideways passing and display greater ambition in midfield if they are to rack up more points and climb the table. The attitude is generally acceptable, but lapses in concentration have been their undoing.
Boro’ are now 2000/1 to be promoted and 100/1 to go down, so lower mid-table obscurity beckons amid a lack of consistency that has dogged their campaign. There are some solid young players at the club and they could kick on next season. They will need to improve their concentration and their determination, though, and could start the rejuvenation at the Lamex on Saturday.