Stevenage v Brighton and Hove Albion Checkatrade Trophy preview
PUBLISHED: 17:33 07 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:33 07 November 2017
Danny Loo Photography 2017
Darren Sarll's Stevenage will face Brighton under-twenty-ones in tonight's EFL Trophy group stage clash at the Lamex Stadium. Boro are out of the competition after a 6-2 loss at home to Oxford in late August, and a 5-4 penalty-shootout loss away at MK Dons in early October.
The format of the Checkatrade Trophy is unusual, so it’s probably worth explaining: teams receive three points for a win in normal time, two points for a penalty-shootout win, one point for a penalty-shootout loss and no points for a loss in normal time. If the game is a draw after ninety minutes, the match goes straight to penalties.
Whereas the Trophy used to feature senior League One and Two clubs only, it now features sixteen under-twenty-one sides from Premier League and Championship clubs in addition to the senior League One and Two sides.
Although Boro have little to play for, tonight’s game is a chance for some of Stevenage’s youngsters to make their mark. It will be interesting to see just how many academy players Sarll chooses to blood.
Stevenage’s last match in all competitions was a comfortable 5-0 win over non-league Nantwich Town in the FA Cup first round. Matt Godden notched a hat-trick - to bring his recent tally to six goals in three - and left-back Joe Martin claiming an impressive four assists from left-back.
Brighton under-twenty-ones, meanwhile, have everything to play for. They need a win of some sorts – be it on penalties or in normal time – to stand any chance of progressing to the knockout stages. They currently sit third in the group, with two points from two games, with second-placed Oxford on four points from two.
The Seagulls lost 2-0 at MK Dons in late August, and came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Oxford in early October. With potential Premier League games up for grabs, Brighton’s youngsters will want to put in an improved display at the Lamex tonight.
But for Darren Sarll’s side, a win would be just the ticket after some mixed recent form in League Two. After the FA Cup win on Saturday, Sarll himself admitted it had been ‘a solemn few weeks’ for his side. The shadow of last month’s 7-1 loss to local rivals Luton still looms large – a win tonight would certainly boost morale.