A Day For Boxing


By Pete H

The latest GW era starts on Boxing Day – and it looks like there’s much work to be done. To be fair, we all know someone who made an egit of themselves at the office Christmas Party. So, it ain’t like humiliation isn’t part and parcel of the festive period. But didn’t think we’d be taking an utter bashing in our last game. You could even say we were “crewe-cified”…


Oh well. Please yourselves.


Stevenage v Forest Green Rovers: The Preview…

Forest Green Rovers – who are they?

It’s all so familiar between us and them nowadays. We could, of course, check – but this might be the first return fixture of the season; neither us nor them finding the one goal to break the stalemate at The New Lawn back in September. And that’s pretty much how it has been in recent years for us. Boro’ haven’t scored against Rovers in three matches – the last time being a 1-3 reverse at their place in February 2018.

Now with 32 meetings behind us, it’s not like we’re not able to get the better of them. We have 13 wins and 12 draws to our name! Taking points from ’em should be second nature. But it’s almost ridonculous to think that we’ve never got the better of Forest Green Rovers since promotion to the Football League. Our last win against them came in April 2010 – a time when we were well on the way to our second Conference title.

Our Record vs Forest Green Rovers: P 32 — W 13 — D 12 — L 7 — F 56 — A 43 — Pts 42
Last time out: Forest Green Rovers 0-0 Stevenage, 21 September 2019

How are Forest Green Rovers doing so far this season?

With two other sides, FGR have 36 points to their name. And that puts them sixth overall – or joint fourth if we wanna spin it. Much like Crewe before them, the west country side are coming to us with a patchy record of late. The past four matches have yielded a mere four points. And it’s one win in six if you’re counting that specific chicken. So, why are we even worrying about this. It’s in the bag, innit?

If only.

First, Crewe weren’t in the best nick last weekend. And it didn’t stop them from tearing us a new one. Second, FGR are decent on the road. With 20 points from a possible 33, they could have a strong case for never returning home again. Goals aren’t free-flowing, sure – but do they need to be when you’ve only let in 18 in 22 outings? In fact, FGR have scored in nearly three-quarters of their matches on the road. That’s got us in a panic, ‘cos Crewe found some goals easy to come by recently.

Tell us something we don’t know about Forest Green Rovers

It seems a while ago, but FGR used to be perennial strugglers in the Conference. And we think themselves bloody lucky to be where they are now. In 2005, they were dead and buried and heading down – only for Northwich Victoria to go pop. And it happened again when we won the title in 2009-10; the misfortune of Salisbury City (who finished 12th) keeping Rovers up. Oh, to think of staying up due to the misfortune of others, eh…

What are the bookies’ odds for this game?

The bookies are following the table with their odds for this match; our guests seen as the most likely winners with a best price of 29/20 (Unibet). We’re in and around 2s to win this match ourselves, though longest odds of 54/25 (Marathon) will get the most for your buck. Both Teams To Score (10/11, VBet) might whet your appetite, which’ll be impressive with the amount of turkey you smashed down for Christmas dinner.

Don’t forget – be responsible. And when the fun stops, stop.

Which Forest Green Rovers player should we watch out for?

Joseph Mills is someone we need to keep quiet if we’re gonna have any chance of taking home a point or three. And we’re pretty sure we said that last time too. FGR’s captain and leading marksman so far this term, the attacking full-back comes into this with eight goals against his name. He has four assists too, while Mills clearly ain’t afraid to get his shots away – nearly half of his 30 efforts on goal have hit the target.

Who is our ref for this match?

James Adcock. It’s been a while since we last ran into Mr Adcock – four-and-a-bit years in fact. Not that much good came of it that day; Teddy Sheringham’s Boro’ side going beaten by Barnet in a five-goal game. Our record overall isn’t all that bad, to be fair – winning half of the eight games he’s officiated and scoring an average of two per game. But you’re only as good as your last game, which is a problem for us on many levels.

Our Record: P 8 — W 4 — D 3 — L 1 — F 16 — A 8
Last time out: Barnet 3-2 Stevenage, 19 September 2015

And, finally, what do you reckon?

It’s not that we doubt GW’s ability to put us on the right path. No, it’s the fact that we were such a shambles against Crewe a few days ago – and the gaffer hasn’t had much time to do enough about it. From such a low starting point and with Christmas getting in the way, any repair work that GW managed over the last few days are steps in the right direction. For us, however, this is a game that comes too soon for the full Westley effect to be felt.

Stevenage v Forest Green Rovers scorecast: 1-3