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Match Previews

Match Preview: Stevenage vs Barrow AFC

2 December 2022

Jim Steele

Stevenage prepare for Friday night football as Barrow travel to The Lamex Stadium for a Sky Bet League Two clash under the floodlights…

Boro return to league action after two cup games last week. First, Steve Evans’ men overcame Arsenal’s Under 21s in the Papa John’s Trophy to progress into the Round of 16.

Then, Boro put in a professional performance live on BBC One, with a 3-0 victory over King’s Lynn Town which awarded Stevenage a trip to Villa Park in the Third Round of The FA Cup.

 

Boro sit second in Sky Bet League Two, just five points behind league leaders Leyton Orient.

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In 2020, Barrow returned to The Football League after a forty-eight-year absence and are now playing in their third Sky Bet League Two campaign since their National League success. Despite finishing just six points above the drop zone last season, Barrow appear to have improved significantly as they currently sit fourth in Sky Bet League Two.

The Bluebirds have picked up eleven wins and one draw in nineteen league games, losing seven. In Barrow’s last league game, Hartlepool travelled to Cumbria as the opponents and were defeated 3-1, through goals from Barrow’s Josh Gordon, Ben Whitfield and Billy Waters. Josh Gordon is The Bluebirds’ danger man and top scorer, with ten to his name already this season.

Pete Wild took over as Barrow boss in May 2022 and has, so far, done an exceptional job. Previously, Wild enjoyed two spells as Oldham gaffer, one as Caretaker and one as permanent manager. Then, the thirty-eight-year-old enjoyed three full seasons as Halifax Town manager before attracting tonight’s visitors, Barrow.

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Boro and The Bluebirds have met on eleven occasions, with Stevenage winning six, drawing three and losing just two. The first ever encounter with Barrow dates to 1998 as the Hertfordshire side picked up a 1-0 victory thanks to Carl Alford, perhaps unsurprisingly, getting his name on the scoresheet.

In the late 2000s, Stevenage enjoyed 3-1, 3-0 and 4-0 victories over tonight’s opponents, but unfortunately it was Barrow who got the last laugh at Wembley Stadium as the Bluebirds overcame the Conference winners in the 2010 FA Trophy Final.

Stevenage and Barrow would go on to meet a decade later in Sky Bet League Two after Barrow’s National League success. Last campaign’s opening fixture was against The Bluebirds, as Jake Reeves’ strike sealed a 1-0 victory. Barrow are yet to defeat Boro in Football League competition.

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Matthew Donohue has been appointed Match Referee for this fixture, with Adam Crysell and Nigel Lugg as his assistants, and Gavin Ward as Fourth Official.

Donohue predominantly oversees Sky Bet Championship fixtures and has so far dished out forty two yellow cards in thirteen games this season.

 


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