Stevenage v Morecambe: So, our rotten run against Exeter City goes on. Next, however, we move onto a team who we have a much better record against...
Photo: "fresh shrimp" by mikerosebery is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

So, our rotten run against Exeter City goes on. Our midweek home defeat to the Grecians means it’ll be at least another season more until we get the better of them. Next, however, we move onto a team who we have a much better record against, Morecambe are already well-known in this part of the world; overtaking Woking in recent times to become the side we’ve played most. But this season’s Shrimps is a very different proposition to the last few seasons. And it’s not the treasure chest of league points we could once almost depend on.

The Details: Stevenage v Morecambe

Where’s the game?

Boro’ don’t have far to go after Tuesday’s match as we’re back at the Lamex for a second straight home game. You don’t have far to go either – not least because you aren’t meant (technically) to be going anywhere.

Can I watch Stevenage v Morecambe?

As ever this season, an iFollow Match Pass is your exclusive window into the Lamex this weekend as the action unfolds. Yours for a tenner, it certainly beats whatever else is on a Saturday afternoon these days now that Grandstand is no longer with us.

What are the odds on a Boro’ home win?

Now, it can’t be too much of a shock to learn that our guests are favoured by all the best online betting sites. As we write this in advance so we can kick back on Friday afternoon, we’re seeing Boro’ hovering around the 19/10 mark. Morecambe are closer in – but not streaking ahead in this two-horse race. Even so, the market speaks unto us and with few supportive words for us. A nice sum to be had if you back us and it pays out though.

How is Boro’s form looking at the moment?

Boro’s up-and-down form continues and we can’t seem to put any sort of meaningful run together. Only three times this season have we recorded back-to-back results that ended with us picking up at least one point; back-to-back draws in October and December, with two straight wins across 2020 and 2021. This six-point haul (Cambridge and Scunthorpe) gives one reason why our form over the last eight is still reasonable and top half territory.

In that time, we’ve lost just twice; both against bloody Exeter. But we’ve also failed to find the net in our last three home matches. This is deeply worrying and doesn’t say much for the fact we’ve signed 1,000 strikers this season. No pressure on the new lad from Derby, right? With the Grecians’ latest visit, we haven’t scored in nearly two-thirds of our Lamex outings this season. That ain’t good enough. It wasn’t the last time we said it either…

… and how are the Shrimps doing right now?

After a dazzling run of form in December, the Shrimps are finding 2021 less willing to give. Even so, their record over the last eight is deeply impressive for a side that you’d put your money on for the drop over the past few seasons. Now in resurgent fashion, our next guests have 16 points from the last 24 available. And it’s one good reason why they’re in line for a playoff place on current standings; four points off top with a game in hand.

Looking at the finer detail courtesy of SoccerStats.com, it’s a tougher proposition than the Grecians. The Shrimps have 19 points from 12 on the road so far this season.  If they do win this, it’ll give them an identical home and away record of 22 from 13. Oddly for a side doing so well up the table, however, there’s a bigger number in the Goals Against column than the Goals For column. It suggests that, when they lose, they lose hard.

Before we can even think about winning, however, we have a job on our hands before we start. Crawley Town and Leyton Orient are the only sides to keep a clean sheet at home to the Shrimps so far. That doesn’t too bode well when compared to our own fortunes.

Our story with Morecambe so far

Now, we have neither the time, space nor patience to go through the whole back story on this one. We’re now up to 42 encounters between ourselves and the Shrimps; 20 of which have gone our way. Our latest guests, meanwhile, will surely be hoping that they can take their win count into double figures at last. It’s been stuck at nine ever since their 1-0 win at the Lamex on Good Friday 2017. Of course, we’ll do all we can to stop that happening.

In recent times, Boro’ are undefeated against the Shrimps in six games. Before we went to theirs earlier this season and let in a late equaliser, we were on a run of three straight wins too. That’s gone, of course – but the unbeaten run can go on. Apart form that Good Friday 2017 defeat, you’ll have to go back a long way for a time when they seized the balance of power; five defeats for us in seven meetings between August 2002 and September 2005.

Of course, the worry with such records is how fragile they are. With the form the Shrimps are showing this season, it’s the first time in a long time that our dominance is at risk.

Last Time Out: Morecambe 1-1 Stevenage, 14 November 2020
Magic Moment: Stevenage 4-3 Morecambe, 28 November 2015; Whelps with a hattrick in a goal-crazy game

Who’s the referee in charge?

James Oldham.

For Morecambe, it’s Oldham. Mr Oldham. And he’s a ref we don’t know all that well. Just once before, in fact; a time when Boro’ were struggling at the wrong end of the table and unable to score goals. No, it ain’t this season but the last. And our efforts that Boxing Day afternoon in 2019 saw us splutter to a goalless draw against Forest Green Rovers.

Mr Oldham is being kept as busy as any other official this season. This will bring him to a nice round 20 games; the previous 19 spread across Leagues One and Two, as well as a flurry of cup appointments. His booking count is already at the half century mark; bringing out the yellows at a rate of around 2.6 per game. There are just two reds to his name too; the last of which was in late November when Blackpool beat Harrogate in the FA Cup.

Last Time Out: Stevenage 0-0 Forest Green Rovers, 26 December 2019

Stevenage v Morecambe: Our verdict?

It’s a bold call, but we think we’ll just about keep our unbeaten run going against our BFFs. It won’t be pretty and we can’t guarantee we’ll score, however. It could well be another dull goalless draw. And this obviously depends on us not giving away yet more silly goals. 0-0.