THERE’S one FA Cup 1st Round replay on Thursday, we got Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) to take a look at it.
Maidstone Utd v Stevenage | Thursday 20:00 | BT Sport 1
Despite the fact the big players don’t enter the FA Cup for another six weeks, this will be Maidstone United’s sixth game of this year’s competition already. After a superb 0-0 draw at Stevenage earlier in November, the Stones now host Graham Westley’s side and you won’t be surprised to hear the game has sold out.
Stevenage sit three tiers higher up the English pyramid than Maidstone but this looks a horrible tie for the League Two side. The Boro were slightly the better side in the opening match and Roarie Deacon missed a golden chance to win the match late on. That miss may be sorely regretted come late on Thursday.
Maidstone are having a great season in the Ryman League and have won 14 of their 17 league games this campaign. Their home record in all competitions is outstanding, proudly standing at W12-D1-L1 in 2014/15. It’s worth noting that both those non-wins have come in their last two home matches. One eye on this match?
Stevenage are currently in 11th place in League Two but it’s hardly been a great season for the relegated club. They’ve failed to win back-to-back games and their current unbeaten run of three games is their best show of the season.
On the away table they’re down in 19th after just one win on the road this season. That was back in the sunny days of August against AFC Wimbledon. It hardly bodes well, eh? They do however go into this fixture in buoyant spirit after splatting Cheltenham 5-1 on Saturday.
I’ve got a feeling this game could go past the 90 minute mark. Maidstone have a superb home record and my gut reaction is to back them at 7/2 with Betfred. But…we have to remember they’re playing in the seventh tier of English football – three divisions below Stevenage.
Graham Westley is a proud man and he will hate the idea of losing this game against non-league opposition. With all these factors to consider, I’ll back the draw at 14/5 with Betfair. Don’t be too surprised if this goes to penalties.
Maidstone Utd v Stevenage – Draw (14/5 Betfair)