The Grecians head to the Lamex Stadium to take on Stevenage in the final scheduled away match of the 2017/18 EFL Sky Bet League Two season.
City sit a single behind Wycombe in third (who face Chesterfield) and will be looking to pick up the three points which would mean the race for the final automatic place goes down to the final day.
Brief history of Stevenage
Stevenage were formed relatively recently as a football club, being founded in 1976 as Stevenage Borough F.C. following the collapse of Stevenage Athletic due to bankruptcy.
The newly founded Stevenage Borough F.C. found success in their early years as a football club, initially joining the United Counties League in 1980 and winning the United Counties League Division One and the United Counties League Cup in their first season of participation.
An impressive period for the Boro culminated in a superb run of form in the early 1990’s, winning three promotions in four years, being promoted to the Conference National in 1994. Stevenage quickly found their feet in the Conference National and in the 1995/96 season, just their second in the league, they finished top and prepared for life in the Football League.
Stevenage were however denied a spot in the Football League due to having insufficient facilities; the Football League deeming that the Boro’s ground Broadhall Way was unable to cope with the demands of League football.
This would mark the start of a 14 year barren spell for the club, unable to challenge for a Football League spot until eventually gaining promotion to League Two in the 2009/10 season and dropping the ‘Borough’ from their name in preparation for life in the Football League.
The newly named Stevenage F.C. would quickly establish themselves on the Football League, beating Torquay United 1-0 in the 2010/11 play-off final to reach League One and secure back-to-back promotions.
Stevenage’s first season in League One started brightly and earned them a place in the play-offs, facing off against promotion rivals Sheffield United. Unfortunately for the Boro, their rise up the Football League would end there, the club losing 1-0 to the Yorkshire side on aggregate to end an impressive season which also saw Stevenage knock Premier League side Newcastle United out of the FA Cup.
Season so far
Despite a resurgance of form towards the end of last season, Stevenage narrowly missed out on the play-offs, eventually finishing in 10th, three points behind eventual play-off winners Blackpool.
Stevenage would have been hoping to build on last season’s performance with a promotion push this season, despite starting the season well with 8 points from August, consistency has been hard to come by and the club currently sit in 15th place in League Two.
The inconsitency would cost manager Darren Sarll his job in March, when play-offs were out of the question. Former Stevenage player and assistant boss Dino Maamria was appointed as the new manager of the League Two club.
Stevenage had a successful cup run, beating Nantwich Town 5-0 in the first-round, and Swindon 5-2 in the second-round, which set up a third-round tie with Championship Reading. Stevenage held the Royals to a 0-0 draw at home, but their adventures were cut short in the replay with a 3-0 loss at the Madjeski Stadium.
Ones to watch
Starting his career at Scunthorpe United, clinical striker Godden has been a revelation for Stevenage since joining the club in 2016. Despite failing to find his feet at previous clubs, Godden hit form for the Fleet and over the course of two seasons and 70 appearances, scored 35 times.
This earned Godden a move to Stevenage at the start of last season and he hit the ground running in his debut season for the Boro, netting a total of 21 times across 43 appearances. This season, Godden has found the net 14 times and provided 4 asists.
Newton has settled in well to life in the Football League. The 26 year old has represented a number of non-league sides but had struggled to make a lasting impression before being picked up by Stevenage last summer.
Newton is perhaps most famous for being the first graduate from Jamie Vardy’s V9 academy to find a professional football club, the academy aimed at promoting talent from non-league sides.
The striker has adapted well to life in League Two and is Stevenage's top scorer this season with 16 in all competitions.
Last Time Out
City took all three points earlier in the season with a 2-1 win over Stevenage. Second-half goals from Lloyd James and Pierce Sweeney, Matt Godden pulled a goal back for Stevenage, but City held on to move into the automatic places.
City's trip to the Lamex Stadium last season saw all three points head back to Devon. Despite being reduced to 10 men after skipper Jordan Moore-Taylor was shown the red card, the Grecians would score twice through Lee Holmes and Ollie Watkins to net a 2-0 win.
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