Stevenage v Forest Green Rovers: Copy, paste, repeat – the number of goalless draws we're racking up is almost impressive. So, should we expect another one here?
Photo: "Stroud ... Forest Green Rovers on a bus KX05 TWL." by bazzadarambler is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Copy, paste, repeat – the number of goalless draws we’re racking up this season is almost impressive if it weren’t so frustrating. So, should we expect another one here? Back at the Lamex, Boro’ return from their weekend wander across the Welsh border and have picked up Forest Green Rovers en route. Our drab draw at Dave Parade widens the gap just a bit more between us and the relegation battle. But could – or should – it have been more?

If not for a couple of late-in-the-day goals elsewhere in League Two, it’d have been a case of ‘as you were’ at the foot of League Two; goalless draws as far as the eyes could see. It turned on a sixpence and went our way, however, as Grimsby Town and Barrow both conceded late winners. So, we’re still moving in the right direction. But it seems like we’re doing so with all the speed of a huge oil tanker doing a circle in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean…

The Details: Stevenage v Forest Green Rovers

Where’s the game?

For the first time in a month, we’re coming back to the Lamex for what’ll be the first half of a double home league game header.

Can I watch Stevenage v Forest Green Rovers?

You can. Now, it’s a hard sell if you sat through Saturday’s snorefest. But maybe the idea of getting back to the Lamex and on a pitch more suited to football than farming can convince you to part with a tenner. That gets you ‘in’ with an iFollow Match Pass – live and direct…

How is Boro’s form looking at the moment?

With three straight draws, Boro’ have slipped down the form table; collecting 10 points out of a possible 24. It’s comfortable middle-of-the-road territory, to be fair. But our view is that we could easily have stuck another two, four, or even six points onto that total if we’d been more clinical. Still, where we are is where we are and that’s what we’re dealing with. And it can always be said that things could be a helluva lot worse.

One interesting takeaway from our draw at Dave Parade at the weekend is the number of games we’ve played – and how that’s now higher than the number of goals we’ve let in so far this season (32 played, 31 conceded). That sort of record is obscenely good – and not the hallmarks of a side still at risk of relegation. Then you remember we’ve failed to score in more than half of our home matches (or win any of our last five indoors) and think “ah yeah”.

… and how are Rovers doing right now?

After an inexplicable home defeat to relegation-haunted Southend United, Rovers made amends on Saturday with a home win over relegation-haunted Colchester United. And it leaves them soaring up the form table over the last eight; 16 points from a possible 24 is their return. Only four sides can better that. So, this is no easy task ahead of us.

You’d expect Rovers to be well involved with the promotion picture come the end of term. Their record on the road so far is a formidable one. With 28 points from 15 outings away from The Lawn, only Cheltenham Town have a better return. FGR have scored in nearly all their away matches (87%); netting in each of their last 11. In addition, they’re currently on three straight away wins.

Oh, and they’re one of the few sides with a better defensive record than us. Buckle up!

Our story with Forest Green Rovers so far

The overall picture looks decent enough from a Boro’ point of view; 13 wins and 13 draws from our 34 previous meetings with Rovers giving us a healthy win rate of 38%. But, as is so often the case, scratch away at the surface and the grim reality starts to show itself. It’s a bit like a beautiful, wintry, urban landscape. Once that snow melts, the turgid grey of the concrete jungle bursts through to strain your eyes. Well, we know what we’re getting at…

The point we’re trying to make is that our recent record against Rovers is so dire you may as well call it Eric. Ever since the Gloucestershire side came up to the Football League in 2017, we’ve failed to win a single match against them. That’s a run of seven fixtures in all. Worse still is that we’ve not managed to score a single goal against them in at least 450 minutes of football. Our two goalless draws last season is as good as it gets.

Last Time Out: Forest Green Rovers 1-0 Stevenage, 17 October 2020
Magic Moment: Stevenage Borough 4-1 Forest Green Rovers, 21 February 2009

Who’s the referee in charge?

Ben Speedie.

Mr Speedie is taking charge of this clash; the Liverpool-based ref midway through his first season at Football League level. With this fixture, he’ll be on 23 games for the current campaign. His stats aren’t exactly out of the ordinary either; a total of 62 yellows and four reds doesn’t stand out much compared with other League Two refs. Mind you, he did book 10(!) lads in Morecambe’s FA Cup win over Solihull Moors

Of course, being new means we’ve never met the chap before.

Last Time Out: No previous meetings.

Stevenage v Forest Green Rovers: Our verdict?

Two things are in our way from the off here. First, our recent head-to-head record against Rovers. Second, their impressive form on their travels. You could argue we need to score at least once to stand a chance of picking anything up from this game, let alone a win. So, what do we reckon? Well, we see our Forest Green Woe-vers continuing on: 0-1.

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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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