By Fan of the Year – Jon Harries
Saturday saw the visit of Stevenage to Stadium MK in Round 1 of the FA Cup, after news broke on Friday afternoon that 2 members of the squad had tested positive for Covid 19, and several members of the playing squad were isolating after being in contact with them. It though looked a decent line-up when announced although the bench left a lot to be desired with 2 goalkeepers and two U18 prospects.
The first half could have got off to a flying start. Max Watters getting a shot away that looped over the goalkeeper and fell just short of goal. Stevenage were happy to sit back and hit on the counterattack without much success. The home side took the lead when some good play led to McEachran playing a ball to the back post where Harry Darling glanced a header into the net.
The second half was a dominant Dons performance for the first 20 minutes without much purpose, with Scott Twine attempting several ambitious shots which was about the best of the end product.
Stevenage then made a double substitution which completely swung the game in their favour. First Elliott List got to the by-line and pulled back for the brilliantly named Bradley Barry to poach home, then 3 minutes later Jamie Reid beat Ilunga for pace down the left and found List in the box to slot home. The Dons then responded 3 minutes later, Matt O’Riley playing a wonderful ball through to Max Watters who took a touch and thumped the ball into the roof of the net from a tight angle.
Stevenage could have won it late on when a Jake Reeves header was brilliantly saved by Fisher, but full time arrived and a trip to the Lamex is in store. With the disruption this week at least, we didn’t lose but it felt like an opportunity missed to progress in my opinion.
This Saturday sees Cambridge United visit Stadium MK in League 1 action. Cambridge also have a replay to look forward to having drawn away at Northampton, coming from behind twice in the game, Sam Smith (no not him) and Conor Masterson with the goals.
Having won promotion from League 2 winning narrowly and with a never say die attitude, head coach Mark Bonner has instilled a belief and determination that sees them currently sat in a very respectable 10th position. I believe at the start of the season they were many peoples favourites for relegation but 15 games in they are not here just to make up the numbers.
Their most recent league form is encouraging as for the first time they have won back-to-back fixtures this season at home to AFC Wimbledon and away at Morecambe.
Dimitar Mitov has stepped up to being a consistent League 1 keeper, Jack Iredale and Harrison Dunk are very experienced campaigners alongside former Don George Williams who never gets the credit for his consistent level of performance IMHO. Harvey Knibbs is a technician on the ball alongside “Wessi” Wes Hoolahan who like Lewington is defying his age with his influence on the pitch. Up front Joe Ironside is being tasked with filling not only his role, but the role vacated when Paul Mullin decided to swap Cambridge for Hollywood…… Sorry Wrexham.
The man in focus is Shilow Tracey. The former Tottenham winger was permanently signed in the summer after a successful loan spell. The pacy winger will be a very stern test for Harvie and Lewington respectively. He’s not afraid to get to the by-line and is a very tricky customer. With two goals and an assist to his name his overall performances have improved recently with consistent performances over several games as the season starts to take shape.
Predicted Line Up
Kioso – O’Hora – Darling – Lewington – Harvie
Kasumu – O’Riley – Twine
Watters – Eisa
With Parrott on international duty and at the time of writing no word on the Covid situation at the club, this prediction could be very premature. This line-up is best case scenario. I’m predicting a narrow 2-1 win with Watters and Eisa with the goals. Cambridge will make this very tough so patience will be key. They are also at the time of writing bringing over 1000 fans so the atmosphere on Armed Forces Day should be a good one.
Photo Credits – Cambridge Utd FC & Bristol Rovers FC