Stevenage v Scunthorpe United: Not just any old iron...
Photo: John Gilroy/Guinness

Well, 2020 is done – and we ain’t sad to see it sink into the deep blue abyss. With concrete shoes on. Now it’s time to see if 2021 is worth staying up for. There are now literally billions of people worldwide who are tuning into Boro’s League Two form; using it as a sign of what comes next for humanity in this sparkling new year. We reckon it’s part-and-parcel of the Burger King sponsorship. But it does mean everything hinges on Boro’s ability to win. Brexit. The Oxford vaccine. The presidency of Joe Biden. Oh – what pressure.

The good news is that we have picked up four points from a potential six available over the Christmas period. It’s also unnerving. After all, it’s our biggest high point in 18 months. And it means we don’t start a second straight year shackled to the bottom of the table. You see? Lessons have been learned. But, for the sixth time in one-and-a-half seasons, we’re now at a crossroads. Do we piss our festive form up the wall and revert to type? Or do we clock up our first back-to-back league wins for the first time in 609 days?

Come on then 2021. What do you got?

The Details: Stevenage v Scunthorpe United

Where’s the game?

The Lamex.

Can I watch Stevenage v Scunthorpe United?

To be honest, we’re running out of new and creative ways of saying “yes, you can stream it for a tenner”. The iFollow service will have to keep doing the heavy lifting as far as fans are concerned. We’ll be back at the Lamex in 2021. Just not two days into the year. So, a Match Pass is your friend here. What else do you have to spend that £10 on right now?

How is Boro’s form looking at the moment?

In terms of our recent form, there are two things we’re going to point out – and we kinda think one contradicts the other. First, our recent form ain’t actually that poor. Two defeats in eight? Sure, that’s pure mid-table form when spread across a whole season. But that’s when the second point kicks in. It ain’t enough. We’ve gotta turn defeats into draws and draws into wins. And stop churning out dire results like our goalless draw with Southend.

Our win against Cambridge changes little on its own. We’ve still drawn a blank too many times indoors (56% of our home games, if you’re asking). But it’s a platform for us to build on. The door’s open. It’s up to us whether we want to walk through.

… and how are the Iron doing right now?

If the Iron had lost at Walsall last time out, we’d come into this game with a chance to go above them on goal difference with the right result. As it turns out, Scunny won. So, they now sit four positions and six points above us. With 12 points from a possible 24, they’re not exactly blitzing it and they don’t tend to do draws either. All but two of their games so far this season have ended in a victory or defeat.

If that ain’t tempting fate, we don’t know what is.

Apart from that, it’s hard to draw too many conclusions from the Iron’s form. Up top, they have 12 goals to their name. That’s double the number we’ve managed. But it’s nowhere near best in the division. At the back? There’s not much to say. With 29 goals against, it ain’t out of the ordinary for a side in the lower half. On the road, meanwhile, 12 points is their haul from a possible 30. And that includes a ridiculous 5-2 win at Harrogate Town; current holders of the joint-worst home record in the division.

Makes our 0-0 draw look a little less brill now.

Our story with Scunthorpe United so far

We don’t have much of a history with the Iron. Our first meeting came in October 2011; Boro’ losing 2-1 at the Lamex after Scunny scored in first and second half stoppage time. Just so you know, we scored even later in second half stoppage time. Our only win came the following season; a 1-0 win indoors. They went down from League One at the end of the 2012-3 season, only to come back up the next season when we went down. So, that meant we missed each other and spent more than six years apart.

Last Time Out: Scunthorpe United 0-0 Stevenage, 02 November 2019

Who’s the referee in charge?

Christopher Pollard.

Now, here’s a ref we don’t know that well at all. We last saw Mr Pollard in our neck of the woods at the start of the 2019-20 season; the man himself taking charge of our 1-0 home defeat to Bradford City.

This match will be his first appointment since 12 December – for whatever reason. Maybe it was to let him cool off. In 12 games up to this point, his card count stands at 49 yellows and five reds! No doubt we’ll see him over his half century of bookings here. But could a sending off be on the cards? If it is, we may see more than one. He’s found reason to send off two people in Shrewsbury’s FA Cup win over Oxford City and AFC Wimbledon’s Papa John’s Trophy clash with Arsenal yoof. The moral seems to be “don’t piss him off”.

Stevenage v Scunthorpe United: Our verdict?

Look, we’re going to let our heart rule the head and put faith in the lads to deliver a three-point haul to kick off the new year. It could be the start of something beautiful. We hope it is. Don’t blame us if we’re wrong. It’s a 2-1 home win for us.

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Pete H is the head of the BoroGuide team; helping to keep the show on the road for the best part of two decades – all because of his love of Boro'. He was relatively late to the scene; first rocking up at Broadhall Way during the 1995-6 season. But that's mainly because he was too young to pledge allegiance before then. There have been more than enough highs (Easter Monday '96) and lows (Kettering '02) since then, however, to keep him occupied. Yes, and the 2010 title win...