Southend United v Stevenage: It's a trip to the seaside for Boro' this weekend – except we're not allowed to go along for the ride and the weather looks naff
Photo: "Congratulations on walking the pier" by Matt From London is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It’s a trip to the seaside for Boro’ this weekend – except we’re not allowed to go along for the ride and the weather looks naff too. So, we can only but hope the lads can make our lives a little sunnier by coming home from the ‘coast’ with three more points in the bucket. And it’s not like that’s impossible either; our hosts are currently buried up to their necks in the sand, with the relegation tide fast approaching. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The world has moved on a lot since we last met the Shrimpers. Our goalless draw at the start of December came when we were knocking around with the Essex side at the foot of the table. Fans could even turn up at the stadium. That had to be knocked on the head soon after, however. We should point out the quality of football that day didn’t have anything to do with that. But we’ve since pulled clear of the relegation battle.

So, let’s keep moving in the right direction.

The Details: Southend United v Stevenage

Where’s the game?

For Boro’, it’s a lovely day out by the seaside this weekend; our latest League Two duties set to take us to Roots Hall.

Can I watch Southend United v Stevenage?

While the coaches and players get a chance to take in the sea air, you’ll have to make do with the urban aromas of the hometown. But that doesn’t mean you can’t catch the action live and direct. Just nab yourself an iFollow Match Pass for a tenner. To recreate that pre-match seafront experience too, some al fresco lunchtime fish and chips should pull in the seagulls and pigeons to annoy the Woking out of you.

How is Boro’s form looking at the moment?

It’s a nice little groove that Boro’ are in at the moment. Sure, it’d have been nice to put a few more points on the board had we took our chances. But the fact hasn’t changed. We’re now unbeaten in seven; that stupid early goal against Walsall the only time we conceded in that period. And it should give us enough confidence to deal with what we’ll face at Roots Hall.

Our last three on the road have, however, ended goalless. And we were guilty of allowing Orient to escape with a share of the spoils on Tuesday evening. But it’s not like we’re not creating those chances. We just need things to click when in front of goal and we’ll finally pass that 30-goal milestone. Once we have, we can then start to focus on turning the GD positive. To concede just 31 in 35 league matches is quite an incredible achievement.

… and how are the Shrimpers doing right now?

At the moment, the Shrimpers are having an to-and-fro battle with Barrow for who keeps Grimsby Town company in the relegation zone. Both are level on 29 points – but the side from Essex have a much worse goal difference. To make things worse for them, they are three games nearer the finish line compared to the Bluebirds. And a run of two wins from eight needs to be improved on if they’re to survive.

SoccerStats.com shows just why the Shrimpers are in such deep doo-doo. Only Grimsby have a worse record at home; 14 points from a possible 51 is their return from Roots Hall this season. And their issues up front make even us look goal-crazy. It’s 21 goals from 34, which is almost one every two games! Given our current defensive record, the Shrimpers’ run of four matches without a goal doesn’t look like it’ll improve. And, frankly, it shouldn’t.

Our story with Southend United so far

It didn’t start so well – and it hasn’t got much better in the years since; a 4-1 home defeat to the Shrimpers in the 2001-2 LDV Trophy set an unhappy tone for our head-to-head. To be fair, those were very different times. We were making the transition to full-time football in the Conference, while they were old Football League hands. But we’ve now gone on to meet 10 times in total – and our win count stands at a disappointing two.

We’re not sure if you can even count one of them; a 4-0 Checkatrade Trophy group clash in November 2016. The second win – or first, if we’re going in date order – was a 4-2 win in February 2015 that helped us advance towards the League Two playoffs… where we’d lose over two legs (and after extra time) to the Shrimpers. He who laughs last, right? Our last encounter might not have been too memorable – but it was a point if nothing else.

Last Time Out: Stevenage 0-0 Southend United, 05 December 2020

Who’s the referee in charge?

Peter Wright.

We assumed this was not the Scottish darts player moonlighting as a Football League ref – and we were proved correct. Then again, we should know this because this is the fourth time we’ve encountered the Merseyside man; the last time being just over 12 months ago when we surrendered a 1-0 half-time lead at Valley Parade.

And that’s a result that left us with a record of perfect symmetry – a 3-1 win at Crawley in 2018; a 1-1 draw at Port Vale last season; and that Bradford defeat. So, 3-1-1-1-1-3. Who knows how this match is supposed to follow that order…

After reffing Bolton’s home game with Cambridge in midweek, Mr Wright has hot-footed it south by Southend in time for this weekend fixture. With a quarter ton of matches already under his belt, he should be well into his groove now. The card count stands at more than 70 yellows, which works out at almost three per game. He has shown three red cards too.

Last Time Out: Bradford City 3-1 Stevenage, 11 February 2020

Southend United v Stevenage: Our verdict?

It all depends on whether Dr Stevenage is in surgery this weekend. In recent years, we’ve had a habit of helping out teams in need. If we both continue on our recent paths, this one is there for the taking. The one thing that stands in our way is putting those chances away. It almost certainly won’t be pretty, but we’ll chance our arm on a 2-0 Boro’ win.

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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...

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