You can clock up your first away league win of term in a boring way – or you can do it with a big bang. And it seems we chose to do it with the latter; Boro’ sweeping past Cambridge with a style and swagger not seen yet from us this season. We do like to err on the side of caution, however. One result gets us off the bottom but it ain’t got us out of danger. A win against Plymouth at the weekend would definitely help that, mind. But that’s then and this is now. A Wembley outing could still be ours this season – if we can find a way past Exeter.
Exeter City v Stevenage: The Preview…
Exeter City – who are they?
So, tough travels seem to be the order of the Leasing.com Trophy for us this season. We had to go to Wycombe, Colchester and Bristol Rovers. But, weirdly, we won them all. Not bad for a side who couldn’t buy an away league win until last time out. Anyway, Exeter is the next destination and never really a happy hunting ground for us. We’ve not won down at Sid James’ Park since the 2005-6 campaign – when we did it twice. First it was an FA Cup tie, then it was our league encounter.
We could really go for that cup and league double delight this season, if they’re offering…
Our Record vs Exeter City: P 25 — W 6 — D 9 — L 10 — F 22 — A 32 — Pts 24
Last time out: Stevenage 0-1 Exeter City, 10 August 2019
How are Exeter City doing so far this season?
For what it’s worth given the tournament we’re here for, the Grecians are doing just fine – level on points with table toppers Swindon, with a game in hand to boot. Unbeaten in the league since the start of November, this is a team on the march. Something needs to go horribly wrong for them to mess up this promotion push. Of course, you never know. But how much are they willing to risk a place in League One for the sake of this competition?
“Who knows” would be our answer. We have too much to worry about in life without what Exeter could be thinking. What we do know is they’re here because Ipswich Town weren’t stop ’em in the last round. Nor could Oxford United on pelanties in the round before that. And a clean sweep of wins in the group stage means we won’t bother making it sound as if they’ve had it tough so far. It also means that, again, the odds are stacked against us.
Tell us something we don’t know about Exeter City
In 1914, the Grecians were a mid-table Southern League side. But that didn’t stop the FA carting them off to South America. The point? To share the English love for this game we call kickaballa. On a mini-tour of Argentina and Brazil, Exeter would become the first pro side to play in the latter. Not content with that fame to claim, they are also the first side to play a Brazilian national team. So, can we blame them for Ronaldinho’s goal in 2002?
What are the bookies’ odds for this game?
Our 4-0 triumph at Cambridge hasn’t quite spooked the bookies into thinking this will be a nailed-on away win. We’re out as far as 9/2 (multiple), while the best price on a home win stands at 4/6 (multiple) at the time of writing. If we do make it through, it won’t come as a surprise if the full time score ends up 1-0. It has been in two of our three away wins in this competition and is priced at 16/1 (multiple) to become three out of four. But it looks like no folks out there think another 4-0 win is likely; the odds being longer than 10-0 Exeter!
Don’t forget – be responsible. And when the fun stops, stop.
Which Exeter City player should we watch out for?
It could be academic but Ryan Bowman is someone who needs little invitation to get his shots away. He’s fired in half a century of goal-bound efforts if the Beeb is to be believed. Half have been on target and 11 have gone in. That’s more than our joint top goalscorers combined, but it’s not the sort of thing we need to remind ourselves about. Let’s just hope he’s being wrapped in cotton wool ahead of their weekend match against whoever.
Who is our ref for this match?
Antony Coggins. So, it turns out the last time we came up against the Grecians is also the same time we crossed paths with Mr Coggins. In fact, his last two matches in charge of us have been against Exeter. And both ended 1-0 to them; the first being at their gaff back in October 2018. Call us paranoid but we get the impression the Football League don’t want Boro’ to win this one. Can we break the chain or is this going to be another 1-0 defeat?
Our Record: P 4 — W 1 — D 1 — L 2 — F 5 — A 4
Last time out: Stevenage 0-1 Exeter City, 10 October 2019
And, finally, what do you reckon?
Well, we didn’t see us beating Colchester or Bristol Rovers and – yet – here we are. And guess what? We don’t see us beating Exeter either. It feels like something has to give at some point in this competition. We also kinda think our luck is best kept in storage for the battles to come in the league. If it gets us a spawny winner at Morecambe, you may even thank us. But we know it might not seem that way at the moment…
Exeter City v Stevenage scorecast: 2-1