City sort of remembered how to take penalties on Tuesday night (or more precisely Cheltenham were even worse) in securing a bonus point following a 2-2 draw in the EFL Trophy, which means City have still only lost once in 90 minutes this season ahead of a trip to a side that has begun to emerge from a dismal run. Josh Coley and Archie Collins made their first starts of the season while Owura Edwards returned from illness to start and, with Kyle Taylor hoping to have recovered from Covid, Matt Taylor has almost his entire squad available for Saturday’s visit to Stevenage. Taylor has hinted after Walsall and Cheltenham at a possible shift in tactics, which could mean a return to a back four rather than the wing back system that has been employed in every league match so far.
Expected to be closer to the bottom than the top, Alex Revell’s Stevenage side got off to a flying start in winning their first two league matches (and defeating Championship Luton on penalties in the EFL Cup) before a run of nine games without a win in all competitions brought them down to earth. However, the last week has been more positive, a 2-0 win over Hartlepool was followed up with a 2-1 win in the EFL Trophy at League One Oxford, so Revell knows his team will be in confident mood ahead of Saturday. A familiar face was on the scoresheet in both matches – Jamie Reid, the player who came through the ranks at City before resurrecting his career at Torquay. Also expecting to feature is former City skipper Jake Taylor, who moved to Stevenage in the summer and has started every league game. The main threat would seem to come, though, from Elliott List, who has caught the eye with his performances, while Luke Norris is a player with plenty of pedigree.
City have tended to have the best of things in this fixture, winning six and drawing one of the seven matches in all competitions since a 3-1 defeat at Broadhall Way in April 2018. The corresponding fixture last season finished 1-0 thanks to a goal from Rory McArdle, while Collins, Jay and Bowman were amongst the goals in City’s 3-1 win at the Park, List scoring for the visitors. Those wins increased City’s league head to head lead with 12 wins to Stevenage’s five, nine matches finishing level. Games between the two sides can be found at https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?p=9507
The match officials for the match will be:-
Referee: Christopher Pollard
Assistant Referees: Scott Williams and Damith Bandara
Fourth Official : Darren Blunden
Just the one Exeter game in charge for Chris Pollard, the away win in September 2020, https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?sp_event=mansfield-town-vs-exeter-city-11