It’s a weekend away from the demands of League football as we take part in what is widely regarded as the greatest cup competition in the world.
It was almost a year ago when Rovers recorded a 2-1 away victory at Stevenage on the way to winning Sky Bet League One and manager Paul Dickov will be looking to get back to winning ways at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Stevenage make the trip North to the Keepmoat looking for a F.A. Cup giant killing while Rovers look to home advantage as well as being 26 places above our visitors in the League ladder.
Victory over Stevenage would build on the tremendous performance against QPR on New Year’s Day and of course bring a healthy financial boost should we progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup.
When Rovers visited Stevenage over ten years ago in 2003 they went into the game locked in a tight battle for promotion from the Conference, meanwhile the hosts were in midtable almost 30 points adrift of Dave Penney’s side despite being top of the form table at the kick off.
The home side were to be on the front foot in the opening 30 minutes or so of the game at Broadhall Way, in fact they could have taken the lead within a minute of the start as Steve Watson crossed for Danny Carroll to head at goal inside the six yard box but Stuart Nelson made a wonderful stop to keep the scores level.
But a minute later Rovers were to fall foul of the curse of the former player as Dino Maamria lobbed the ball over Nelson after being expertly found by Watson to give Stevenage the lead with a couple of minutes on the clock.
Only expert defensive work from Mark Albrighton denied the home side a two goal lead after 15 minutes as the pressure was piling on Rovers. The defender cleared from under the crossbar with Carroll waiting for the simplest of tasks of netting from a yard out.
Rovers finally fought back as they fashioned a chance for Tris Whitman who found himself with all the time in the world to pick his spot, but he agonisingly blasted over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Stevenage were then to go two goals to the good shortly before the break as Simon Wormull blasted home a well worked free kick from 20 yards.
After the restart Rovers came out fighting with the words of Dave Penney ringing in their ears but it took until the hour mark for the fightback to start, and start it did in fine style. Francis Tierney picked up the ball out wide on the left around 25 yards out before precisely picking his spot and delivering the ball over the head of Mark Westhead, a truly world class effort.
Paul Barnes ruffled the feathers of the home side as he tussled with Watson, both players were booked and Rovers came out of it the more settled and netted the equalizer with just under ten minutes remaining.
Whitman atoned for his earlier miss with a wonderful finish after a mazy run, it was now all about the visitors and in the final minute of normal time the almost unthinkable happened as Barnes put the icing on the Rover’s cake, toe poking the ball home from close range to record a memorable victory.
Statistics v Stevenage
Victory this weekend would see Rovers go ahead in the overall head to head record as both sides have emerged victorious on three occasions each. Six games between the sides have ended in a draw.
Rovers haven’t lost against this weekend’s opponents for almost 15 years so it could be said even the stats are on the side of the home team.
It could be said games between Rovers and Stevenage haven’t been goal filled, with only 20 goals being scored in the 12 games that have been played between the sides to date.
However, Rovers have scored eight goals in the last five games against this weekend’s opponents. With Stevenage only scoring five times.
Stevenage are nicknamed ‘The Boro’ although they are not to be confused with Middlesbrough FC; Stevenage Chairman Phil Wallace dropped the name Stevenage Borough in June 2010 to become Stevenage FC.
The prices for the home game are as follows:-
11 and Under £1
In the case of a replay the pricing at Stevenage will be as follows:
Adult (22-59) £22
Concessions (Over 60’s) £19
Youth (16-21) £14
Juniors (7-15) £12
Infants (Under 7) £8
Sky Bet have Rovers as favourites for the FA Cup clash at the Keepmoat Stadium.
To open an account with Sky Bet CLICK HERE
* Odds subject to change, correct as of 02/01/14
Rovers Player will be broadcasting Live audio commentary of the game. Don't miss a kick with out match day commentary team Glen Wilson & Chris Donald.
Get in touch with the commentary team on air, tweet @drfc_official with the hashtag #drfclive
Subscribe to Rovers Player can experience all of the below.
• Live Audio Commentary
• Extended Match Highlights
• Full Match Replays
• Exclusive Manager and Player Interviews
• TV News
Click HERE to subscribe