Lads, the Checkatrade Trophy may not be a competition we’re all that fussed about, but any record that shows played two, lost two, conceded 12 ain’t gonna look good on the end of term report. And we’re not back out of cup mode just yet, either; the FA Cup grabbing our attention this week. It’s time for Boro’ to embark upon that hallowed ‘Road to Wembley’; being sent to Plymouth perhaps a metaphor for how far from the Arch we are.
Sure, like most routes through that London, the road to Wembley is clogged up with allsorts going in the same direction. To win this pot, we’ll have to see off the totally legitimately funded Man City, the free-spending-for-two-fourth-places Liverpool, a Spurs side more likely to play in front of our new North Stand before their shiny new ground and all the rest. It’s the Pilgrims, however, who’d rather take that dream from us for themselves.
Plymouth Argyle v Stevenage: The Lowdown
P8 W3 D1 L4 F14 A15; last result: Stevenage 1-0 Grimsby Town, 22/09/2018
It’s only been 10 games since we last met Lee Collins, but he’s back like an, um, 10-game-shaped boomerang? This is only the seventh time Collins has taken charge of a match this season; our win indoors against Grimsby six weeks ago being the second of those. It’s also the second time we’ve had him for more than one fixture in the same season. The other was 2013-4; us winning the first of two he oversaw. Then losing the second. Gah.
P6 W2 D1 L3 F9 A11; last result: Plymouth Argyle 4-2 Stevenage, 14/01/2017
After earning promotion in 2017, it’s now been almost two years since we last met the Pilgrims. Two months counts as almost, yeah? Our record at Home Park isn’t great. Our 1-1 draw there in August 2014 is as good as things have been; their 98th minute equaliser from the spot clearly having some impact on our destiny from then on. Our last two visits have seen us lose 3-2 and 4-2 respectively. So odds on us losing 5-2 this time?
Is form going to count for anything? Is shipping four goals to the Dons midweek going to have any bearing on things here? Who knows, but we’ll give you the lowdown all the same. For those who don’t care for any other division but our own, good on ya. It means, however, you probably won’t know Plymouth are struggling; third bottom, but starting to look up in October with their first three league wins of term.
In some ways, this might not the best time to be playing them. They lost their last game indoors, but that was to Sunderland. A different proposition to us, really. For what it’s worth, the Pilgrims have let in at least one in all but one of their home matches; their one shutout being against AFC Wimbledon. Out of 18 goals scored, a total of 12 have come in the first half; the last 15 minutes so far proving a fine time to strike against them.
Read into that what you will, but this is where the Magic of the Cup(TM) takes over. Start your engines people, for the Road to Wembley is open and traffic is flowing. But those yellow bricks are actually muddy potholes…
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• MORE ABOUT ‘EM: Plymouth Argyle club profile