Stevenage fan column: We avoided FA Cup banana skin now let's kick on against high-flying Notts County
PUBLISHED: 14:31 06 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:58 06 November 2017
A 5-0 win against lower league opposition is what most supporters would have expected from Stevenage's FA Cup fixture against Nantwich Town on Saturday.
However, the beauty of the cup is its ability to throw a spanner in the works and to humble established league sides.
Just ask Blackpool, whose long journey home from Boreham Wood was no doubt the complete opposite in atmosphere to Maidstone’s trip back from Cheltenham. Saturday’s comfortable win would have provided a welcome fillip to Darren Sarll and his young squad, who can now look to build on this as they return to league football this weekend.
Add to this the in-form Matt Godden, who’s hat-trick means he’s scored six goals in his last three outings – I’m sure chairman Phil Wallace won’t mind losing the occasional football to Matt’s personal collection as opposed to the A602.
In fact, with Danny Newton alongside him, this is the first time in a number of seasons Stevenage have had the benefit of a pair of out-and-out goal scorers playing at the same time.
Perhaps the sternest test for Boro so far this campaign comes with the upcoming visit of Notts County, who sit proudly on top of League Two.
While Meadow Lane has become a fortress for County this season – being undefeated in their eight home games – a chink in their armour comes in the shape of their away form.
Just one point out of nine in their last three away matches, against teams occupying the lower half of the table, indicates that the Magpies aren’t infallible after all.
But with a front line of 6ft 3in Jon Stead and 6ft 2in Shola Ameobi, our central defenders will need to be on their game, despite the combined ages of these two journeymen hitting 70 years.
The foil to County’s front two is undoubtedly Jorge Grant, the 22-year-old mercurial left winger who has moved from rivals Nottingham Forest on a season-long loan.
Nine league goals already this season shows a player who’s in form and, if he’s not properly shackled by Ronnie Henry, threatens to run riot.
Whereas Saturday’s result no doubt provided a shot in the arm to Boro’s confidence coming up to this match, County will also be riding high after coming from 2-0 down to put four past Bristol Rovers of League One in the same competition as Grant weighed in with another goal and an assist.
Stevenage’s midfield has been criticised at times this term for being relatively lightweight and displaying a lack of movement.
In order to counter County’s considerable threat perhaps now is the time for Sarlly to have a bit of a rethink in order to provide further protection for the back four.
I would personally play five in midfield, with the talismanic presence of Jack King at its fulcrum.
After beating second placed Accrington Stanley not so long ago, Saturday promises to show just how well Stevenage can kick on this season as they look to move back towards the play off places.
Up the Boro!
Follow loyal Boro fan Ogs on Twitter @Ogsy_SFC