THE final Johnstone Paint Trophy second round clash on the card features Stevenage and Dagenham & Redbridge on Wednesday night. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) shares the best bet.
Stevenage v Dagenham & Redbridge | Wednesday 19.45
Two struggling League Two teams switch their focus to cup football on Wednesday night and it’s difficult to find enough positives to back either side at Broadhall Way. Instead, a play on goals might be a more sensible solution.
Stevenage slumped to their fourth consecutive league defeat on Saturday and are now six games without a win and just two points above the relegation zone. Tom Miller’s late goal gave Carlisle a 1-0 success on Stevenage soil and Teddy Sheringham’s transition into the dugout is yet to reap rewards.
Post-match, the former treble-winner at Manchester United, claimed, “I think we need to dig a bit deeper. When you lose goals from set pieces like that [on Saturday], it’s down to desire.
“We’ve had words in the dressing room. It’s not really fallen to someone in the wrong place. That’s desire to get on and win a knock down.”
The misery was compounded with the fact that Brett Williams saw his penalty saved before half-time but the comments were certainly no ringing endorsement of his players.
Sheringham is dealing with an inflated squad of youngsters. The Boro boss has used 28 players in the club’s 12 matches so far this season, including eight teenagers while another eight are under the age of 23 and inexperience might well be a key issue.
The Boro boss made five changes to his side after a humbling midweek loss to Mansfield and although they were neat and tidy in possession, the hosts really struggled with impetus in the final third. However, a first start of the season for playmaker and attacking star Ben Kennedy will have buoyed Stevenage supporters.
As for Dagenham, Wayne Burnett’s men fluffed the chance of a first home win this season in a disappointing defeat against Mansfield last weekend. Things had looked good for the hosts at the break having struck three times in the first-half. And they held the lead until the final 10 minutes when the visitors struck twice to break home hearts.
Burnett was seething with the Daggers post-match: “We should have won, we’re 3-1 up and we gave away a penalty. We’ve given a needless goal away and its changed the complexion of the game. We came out and we didn’t perform in the second half and we defended deep. They won every header, our players today weren’t good enough.”
“It is not a coincidence why we keep getting beat, we’re not good enough at the moment and that is individually and collectively.”
“We’ve tried everything with the players, we’ve tried giving them tough love and putting our arm around them but the players keeping making individual errors. Sometimes the other teams have got better players and that is a fact. But we should be winning this game today but players are making incorrect decisions with and without the ball.”
That’s a pretty damming verdict but even so, I’d like to count on the Daggers getting a goal. Their road record this term reads W2-D1-L4 in all competitions but since a opening day blank at Portsmouth, Burnett’s boys have notched in each of their last six on their travels. And that’s a trend that’s proven commonplace in away games under his tutelage.
Since taking the role, Dagenham have scored in 44/57 (77%) of their League Two road trips under Burnett. Stevenage have W2-D1-L3 of their Broadhall Way dates under Sheringham, keeping a solitary clean sheet, so immediately there’s enough evidence to suggest the visitors will score.
But the Daggers have kept only 10 shutouts themselves during those 57 away days, unsurprisingly leading to a healthy Both Teams To Score record – 36/57 (63%). Taking purely those 57 away league games, BTTS should be chalked up at around the 4/7 mark. But 888 have made it available at 6/7 and that holds appeal.
Sheringham’s hosts have drawn blanks in three of those aforementioned six home outings but with Kennedy back in the picture, the pressure of the league off and a leaky defence in opposition, it would be a surprise to see Stevenage fail to score. Both Teams To Score at small stakes.
Stevenage v Dagenham & Redbridge – Both Teams To Score (6/7 888)
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