After failing to convince against our lower league opposition last weekend in the FA Cup, now Boro’ return to League Two action. It took two hours of football and a penalty shoot-out to separate us from Concord Rangers of National League South. We’re not that sure how well that bodes for us here. There was little evidence of a two-division gap between us and the Beach Boys.
So, what of us and Morecambe? Well, there’s no such gap between us and the Shrimps. And we’re not exactly finding it easy to match up to our supposed equals at the moment. In our 12th league match of the 2016-7 season, however, it was at the Globe Arena that we bagged our first away win of the campaign. Well, this is our 12th league game of the current season. And we’re up there this weekend. Can history repeat itself?
Don’t go grasping those straws too hard.
The Details: Morecambe v Stevenage
Where’s the game?
The Globe Arena is about as far north-west that we’ll have to travel this season. Except Carlisle. Which is in Scotland anyway. For all intents and purposes.
Can I watch Morecambe v Stevenage?
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How are Boro’ shaping up…?
In league terms, nothing has changed for obvious reasons since we last stepped out; our 3-1 defeat over at Colchester being where we pick up. But we’ll look at Concord Rangers in the context of other competitions too. That’s because our FA Cup tie adds to the list of games in which we’ve scored more than once where league points aren’t at stake. In the Carabao Cup, Papa John’s Trophy and FA Cup, we’ve scored (at least) twice in each cup clash. But we’ve only done that once in the league.
Now, it helps that Concord are two divisions below us. And maybe we should be grateful after our long run without scoring at all. It simply isn’t good enough, however, for Boro’ to be misfiring in front of goal with so many forwards on the books. Or is that one of the key reasons? Our strikers can’t take chances if they’re not being created. Or if we don’t keep hold of the ball. Mind you, that last point is if you believe the possession stats on paper – which might not be the case from Grimsby and Colchester.
… and how are they doing right now?
Year after year, the Shrimps fought for their lives at the bottom end of League Two. So, it must’ve been a pleasant change for ’em to start the current season so brightly. Look past their 5-0 tonking at home to Cambridge and you’ll find they won four of their first five. The record isn’t as great in recent weeks, however. But it is now back on track after going four league outings without a win; the last two games returning four points out of six.
As things stand, it’s on the road where the Shrimps are currently shining brightest; picking up 12 points from a possible 18. At home, it’s only five points from five. But you can’t deny this is one they’ll be looking at with interest. One thing that maybe plays into our favour is the fact they have the second-worst defensive record; conceding 21 from their 11 fixtures to date. The Us account for a fair bit of that – but there are goals to be had here.
One other stat is that 73% of their games have seen more than 2.5 goals. If we’re to keep in with that trend and avoid defeat, we’ll need to score more than once at the Globe.
Our story with Morecambe so far
It’s the latest chapter in the longest-running battle that we have going; us and Morecambe taking on each other for the 42nd time. The head-to-head record is firmly in our favour; 20 wins to us, 12 draws and a mere nine victories for them. So, three points for the hosts will take their win count into double figures too. Not much of a prize, we admit. You gotta grab what you can get at this level, though.
As we come into this latest encounter, Boro’ are unbeaten in five against the Shrimps. We also have the luxury of a three-match winning streak to fall back on. Both records are very much on the table this weekend, however. And they’re very much at risk too, based on our current form. If it counts for ‘owt, Morecambe gave us one of our rare victories last season. But we’d settle for a repeat of our epic 3-3 draw in summer 2006 for now.
Who’s the referee in charge?
Stop the bus now. If our record on Mr Nield’s watch is anything to go by, there’s no point in us making the long trip north. From six previous meetings, we’ve lost five and drawn one –although that was our 1-1 draw against the Shrimps when Fraser Franks popped up with a last-gasp golazo. Ronnie Henry also set a big record that day. Not sure there’s anyone up for a record this time around, mind. Still, the rest of our results on Mr Nield’s watch? Pah.
Fresh from battling the coronalurgy on the front line as a senior nurse/matron in Yorkshire, Mr Nield is now nine games into the current campaign. There’s nothing out of the ordinary to report. He refs games, he dishes out the odd yellow card – what more can you ask?
Last Meeting: Grimsby Town 3-1 Stevenage, 28 January 2020
Morecambe v Stevenage: Our verdict?
We’d ruddy bloody love to say that we’ll get something out of this one. In truth, however, it just doesn’t seem likely. We’re always willing to be pleasantly surprised. But we’re going to plump for a 2-1 home win.