nPower League 1
Tuesday 1st December 2013
The Banks’s Stadium
Kick Off: 3pm
Weather Forecast: Sunny intervals, 5°c
Referee: SW MATHIESON (Cheshire)
Stevenage begin 2013 with a trip to the Midlands, hoping to get back to winning ways and continue their impressive away form so far this season against Walsall.
Last time we met:
Stevenage secured a first home win of the season as a Greg Tansey spectacular was one of three scored at the Lamex Stadium. The final score was 3-1 with Robin Shroot opening the scoring with a low shot midway through the first half. George Bowerman pulled the Sadlers level on the hour mark but Tansey’s 30-yard strike and a late Lucas Akins volley rounded off a strong home performance.
Boro: Day; Gray, Ashton, Roberts, Comminges; Tansey, Grant, Shroot (Risser), Akins, Freeman (Dunne), Agyemang (Haber)
Subs not used: Arnold, N’Gala, Ball, Lopez
After the postponement of the fixture with Notts County on Saturday, Stevenage go into the game with a few days more rest in their legs. Filipe Morais returned from injury on Boxing Day and will be hoping to challenge for a start again whilst Jon Ashton (Achilles) is setting his sights on a return soon. Gary Smith is likely to stick with a familiar side that began the last game with Coventry City.
Walsall will be without Febian Brandy, who misses the game after picking up his fifth booking of the season as his side lost to Leyton Orient 2-1 in their previous fixture. Dean Holden (Ankle) was missing from the squad for the loss and will be hoping to recover in time.
The Walsall Scout Report
Walsall go into the game sitting in 16th place in the division, they sit 8 points above the relegation places and eight behind Boro with a total of 29 points from 25 games.
The Sadlers played five games in the final month of 2012 and picked up two wins, one draw and two losses. A 4-2 victory against an in-form MK Dons was the highlight of December, but last weekend’s 2-1 loss at Leyton Orient – conceding in the 87th minute – will leave a sour taste in manager Dean Smith’s mouth.
Walsall have played two more league games than Stevenage this season, a result of the postponements for Boro of Brentford away and Notts County at home, yet both sides have netted 31 times this term. (Boro have 16 goals at home, 15 away, whilst Walsall have a reverse of that -15 at home and 16 away.) Their defence have been leakier than that of Gary Smith’s side though, with 41 goals against compared to Boro’s 39.
Just once this season Walsall have been involved in a 0-0 score line, whilst the Stevenage fans are yet to see that result.
The fixture will be Walsall’s 13th at home and they hold a mixed form guide with 3 wins, 4 draws and 5 losses.
Possible Walsall line-up for Saturday (4-4-2 formation)
Aaron McCarey; Ben Purkiss, Andy Butler, Paul Downing, Andy Taylor; George Bowerman, Adam Chambers, Sam Mantom, Jamie Paterson; Will Grigg, Craig Westcarr
Subs from: David Grof, Malvind Benning, James Chambers, Florent Cuvelier, Ashley Hemmings, James Baxendale, Richard Taundry
George Bowerman and Will Grigg (7 in all competitions) lead the way in the goal scoring charts, but they are shared around the team quite evenly. They will hope that Jamie Paterson can keep up his good form behind the strikers and add to his 4 assists this season as they look to get a positive result at home.
• The referee for this game will be S Mathieson rom Cheshire, and he is yet to officiate a game between either side this season. He was in charge of Boro’s narrow victory over Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough last season whilst he took charge of Walsall’s trip to the Galpharm to take on eventually promoted side Huddersfield Town.
• Lucas Akins’ goal against Coventry City on Boxing Day was his eighth of the season for Boro, one more than he netted in his previous two seasons with Tranmere Rovers.
• Should he play against Walsall then Lee Hills will make his 5th appearance for Stevenage since joining in the Summer.