Exeter City suffered a disappointing 3-1 home loss to Crawley Town on Good Friday and now face an in-form Stevenage side, buoyed by three successive victories.
While, the Grecians fell to defeat at St James Park, Stevenage maintained their rapid ascent up the division, after dismantling Port Vale 4-1 at Vale Park.
The Grecians may have endured some patchy form of late, but are still clinging on to the final play-off spot in 7th place. Monday afternoon’s opponents trail Matt Taylor’s side by just two points, ahead of the game at the Lamex Stadium.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Hertfordshire-based side…
- Founded: 1976
- Nickname: The Boro
- Honours: League Two playoff winners (2010/11), Conference champions (1995/96 & 2009/10), FA Trophy (2006/07 & 2008/09)
Founded as Stevenage Borough in 1976, the club started out of the local council giving their consent for the title of ‘Borough’ to be incorporated into the football team’s name.
In 1980, the council acquired the lease for the stadium Broadhall Way and permitted the club to become its tenants. These two factors combined for the club to attain senior status.
The Boro first played in the Conference in the 1994/95 season and despite winning the league the next season, they were denied promotion to the Football League due to inadequate ground facilities.
Stevenage won the FA Trophy two times in three seasons in 2007 and 2009, but greater prizes awaited and the clubs’ second Conference title finally saw them promoted to the Football League. The following season and instant success once more, as the club gained promotion to League One – their highest-ever status to date.
After becoming Stevenage manager in March last year, Dino Maamria has completed the set of playing at the club, being an assistant manager and finally assuming the number one hotseat.
Born in Tunisia, Maamria started his career at AS Marsa before moving to CO Transports – both in his homeland. His goalscoring pedigree soon alerted the eyes of English suitors and Burnley brought him to the UK in 1996.
From there, Maamria became something of a journeyman with spells at Doncaster Rovers, Southport and Leigh RMI, though it is at Stevenage where the striker really excelled. Three years were spent in the Conference with Stevenage with Maamria pillaging opposition goal nets across the country.
A regular in the Conference during his playing days, after hanging up his boots in 2012, Maamria has gone on to manager Northwich Victoria, Southport, Nuneaton Town and now Stevenage.
- Name: The Lamex Stadium
- Capacity: 6,722
- Year opened: 1961
- Address: The Lamex Stadium, Broadhall Way, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, SG2 8RH
The Lamex Stadium – previously known as Broadhall Way – may have opened in 1961, but that’s almost 20 years before it housed Stevenage. Stevenage Town and then Stevenage Athletic were the tenants in the intervening 19 years before Stevenage moved in.
After the Boro won the Conference in 1996, Broadhall Way was deemed insufficient to stage Football League football. Consequently, heavy investment has been ploughed into the stadium to make it meet the requirements.
In 2009, the stadium was named the Lamex Stadium for sponsorship reasons and is now in its tenth year. The stadium has also been used for Tottenham’s youth teams and was also used for the FA Womens Premier League Cup recently.
One to watch
Despite his fairly tender years, Kurtis Guthrie is racking up the goals and continually rising to a higher level, proving just how exciting he can be.
The domineering forward joined the Boro last July amid plenty of speculation linking him with numerous other clubs. Guthrie arrived on the back of a two-year spell at Colchester United where he had scored 13 in 49 appearances.
This season Guthrie has scored nine and demonstrated his ability to turn provider with three assists to boot.
Recent form guide
A bleak February resulted in just one league victory and that patchy form continued into March, as the Boro picked up just one victory to show for their monthly efforts.
That came midway through the month, with Stevenage the 2-0 victors against Swindon Town. However, that win failed to instigate an upturn in form, as both MK Dons and Macclesfield Town scored late equalisers in 1-1 and 2-2 draws respectively, denying the Boro of nine points from nine.
A shock 3-0 home defeat to relegation-threatened Notts County did not look like it was on the cards, but fortunately it proved a momentary blip rather than their season looking set to unravel.
Since the turn of April, Stevenage have scored nine, conceding just one as they look to sustain what seemed an improbably promotion bid. First they dismissed Grimsby Town 2-0, before comprehensively beating Carlisle United 3-0. The good times kept on rolling, as they put Port Vale to the sword in a 4-1 away demolition.
2017/18 season in review
- Position: 16th - League Two
- Top goalscorer: Danny Newton - 16
- Average attendance: 2,611
Stevenage got their season off to a flyer after an undefeated August had the club perched in 3rd place. By the end of September, the Boro had recorded six wins from 11 games and were positioned in 6th.
The wheels soon started to fall off though, as Stevenage won just two of their next 14 league games up until January, which included a 7-1 capitulation at the hands of Luton Town.
Progress to the third round of the FA Cup somewhat abated that poor league form, but they were duly dismissed by Championship side Reading in mid-January.
By the turn of the year, Stevenage continued to slip down the table as midtable started to look like the likely scenario. Patchy form continued till the end of the season, but when Boro went big, they went big. Three 4-1 victories transpired against Chesterfield, Yeovil Town and Barnet as the club finished in 16th.
Most recent meetings
Exeter City 1-0 Stevenage (Sky Bet League Two – October 2, 2018)
The red-hot Grecians extended their fine form to seven games unbeaten across all competition, courtesy of Dean Moxey’s first half winner.
The encounter at St James Park saw two of the most in-form sides in the division go head-to-head with just two points separating them at the start of play.
Exeter dominated from the get-go and got the goal deep into first half stoppage time to put the hosts 1-0 ahead. Luther Wildin then saw red for the visitors in the second half to effectively end the game as a contest.
Stevenage 3-1 Exeter City (Sky Bet League Two – April 28, 2018)
On this pivotal day, just shy of a year ago, Stevenage ended the Grecians automatic promotion hopes courtesy of an inspired Alex Revell performance that saw him take the match ball with all three goals.
The Boro raced into a 2-0 lead at the interval, leaving the visitors with a mountain to climb and that task became ever harder with Revell securing the hat-trick shortly after the restart. Pierce Sweeney dispatched a penalty in the 78th minute, but that ultimately proved in vain.
Exeter City 2-1 Stevenage (Sky Bet League Two – December 16, 2017)
Exeter battled their way to a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Stevenage, with Lloyd James and Sweeney grabbing decisive second half goals.
Matt Godden fired in a late volley for the visitors, but the Boro still succumbed to defeat, leaving them languishing in 16th. On the other hand, the Grecians moved into the automatic promotion spots at the expense of Accrington Stanley.
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