Stevenage v Grimsby Town [Match Preview]

By Pete H

No goals (still) – but we did at least come back from Harrogate with a draw. Is it something we can build upon against Grimsby? It really is starting to feel barren up top; our two goals against MK Dons nowt more than a distraction from our league form. Nothing lasts forever, though. Just keep telling yourself that. Goals will start flowing, wins will start coming again and this will all feel like a little blip that we’ll laugh off come the end of the season. Well, it’s what we’d like to see. The Mariners indoors will give us an idea of how far off we are…

The Details: Stevenage v Grimsby Town

Where’s the game?

It’s back at the homestead.

Can I watch Stevenage v Grimsby Town?

Up ’til this point, it’s either iFollow or no follow for Boro’ fans. Season ticket holders get to watch online for free, while mere mortals must pay a tenner for a Match Pass. But! You’re now able to go to the Lamex and “watch” the match too! The 76 Lounge is throwing open its doors so that fans can enjoy a socially-distanced matchday experience. You may even hear the players shouting on the pitch from your vantage point in front of the telly.

How are Boro’ shaping up…?

It’s been a long, slow painful slide down the table since a promising start. And we’re only six weeks into the season. The root cause is glaring – we can’t score goals. It ain’t a fact you don’t already know. Looking at our last game, there’s not much to celebrate from our goalless draw at Harrogate. Take it in the context of both our respective starts to the new season, however, and we can legit claim to have earned a solid and respectable point.

… and how are they looking?

The Mariners’ form is all over the place at the moment. After losing their first two fixtures, Ian Holloway’s men kicked into gear with a draw and two wins (including away to Leyton Orient, our last oppo indoors). Since mid-October, their last three matches only yielded a single point. It seems they also prefer to score their goals before half-time; three-quarters of them coming between the 16th minute and the interval. Mind you, that’s six from eight. It’s not much of a guide to go on.

Our story with Grimsby Town so far

At home, our record against the Mariners is flawless. Even last season for all its woes, a 2-1 win accounted for one-third of our league victories. It’d be brazen to suggest that this could be the fixture we want, given how our form is. But it does prove that something will have to give. Either we break our recent duck or we lose our 100% home record. There’s a clear choice we’d take. It’s not us who gets to decide, however.

Overall, add one away win into the mix and you have five wins in total for us – compared to their two. And there’s been a draw in there somewhere too.

Last Meeting: Grimsby Town 3-1 Stevenage, 28 January 2020

Who’s the referee in charge?

Sam Allison.

New from the National League, Mr Allison is the first BAME ref in the Football League for 12 years; Uriah Rennie hanging up his whistle in 2008. In pure Boro’ terms, however, this is the first time we’ve met Mr Allison and it’s a clean slate; no omens good or bad to look back on. It’ll be game number eight for him since his summer promotion too. In that time, he’s waved his yellow card about on 17 occasions. And he’s yet to reach for his red. The card stats suggest, then, that we’ve got a ref with sense and who lets the game flow.

Last Meeting: None

I have £1 to bet – what are my options?

Boro’ lead the charge as far as the bookies believe; best odds of 7/5 (multiple) still going to return more than you put on, though. The Mariners are drifting around 21/10 (multiple) or 2s (multiple), which seems a little dismissive of their chances. We’re not complaining, mind. It doesn’t have the feel of a fixture that’ll tickle the BTTS market in our view – but it is a view that is often proved wrong. ‘No’ on that front is 9/10 (Betfair).

Prices may change. Be Gamble Aware – when the fun stops, knock it on the head…

Stevenage v Grimsby Town: Our verdict?

Is this “the one”? Even last season, we could count on the Mariners for the points. With the scoreless similarities this time around, it ain’t a given that a win is in the bag. But we can’t go without another goal forever. So, out on limb we go with our 2-0 prediction. This won’t be pretty, either. Think last on the running order of the highlights programme…