Match Preview: Stevenage Borough (FA Cup 1st Round)

Nigel Pearson summed up City’s defeat at Rotherham in midweek as his sides worst performance of the season. Indeed, it was the first time Leicester have gone out of a cup competition to lower league opposition is over six years. Not since West Brom (then of Division One) put Dave Basset’s soon-to-be-relegated Foxes out of the FA Cup in January 2002 has a City side been beaten by supposedly inferior opposition.

With 52 places separating Leicester and Stevenage, one would like to think the Foxes should have little trouble progressing. Clearly the likes of ITV and Setanta share this opinion, with their cameras pointed at the competition’s juicier ties. We’ll get onto the bookies later.

There have been no previous meetings between the two sides.

Whilst Stevenage have made it to at least the 1st round proper of this competition in each of the last five seasons, they haven’t reached the 3rd round since they met Newcastle United in the 1997/98 season.

Key Stats
Stevenage have the Blue Square Premier’s fifth best scoring record, and its fifth worst defence. Boro’ had a pretty terrible start to their Blue Square Premier campaign, winning only once in August and shipping 15 goals. Since then, they’ve conceded only 13 and have climbed to 9th in the table, just five points from division pacesetters Kettering Town. This upsurge in form correlates with the scoring record of striker Steve Morrison. The England C international failed to score in August, but after bagging a hat-trick on the 6th of September now has 10 goals, he’s the club’s leading scorer. Those thinking of placing a cheeky bet on Stevenage forcing a replay would do well to note that Stevenage haven’t drawn an away game for 21 matches. Boro’ have won four of their last six away from home.

Leicester head into the game as red hot favourites. They’re unbeaten at home in five matches. City were last defeated at home in a cup game by Aston Villa in 2006, since then City have only played two cup ties at the Walkers Stadium and nine on the road. We now have to go back five matches to find anyone except Matty Fryatt scoring for the Foxes and certainly some will be wondering what that penalty miss will have done to the striker’s ever fragile confidence. That being said, Fryatt has now netted more times than Leicester’s next three top scorers combined.

On This Day
6’ 8” keeper Zeljko Kalac made one of only two starts for Leicester City in a League Cup 3rd Round Replay at home to Bolton Wanderers on this day in 1995. Kalac had caused concern after mistakes in the previous weekend’s trip to West Brom had seen a comfortable 3-0 advantage reduced to 3-2. This time, Kalac’s antics saw City slump to a 3-2 defeat and led BBC Radio Leicester commentator Geoff Peters to remark, “Kalac sits with his head in his hands…lets hope he doesn’t drop it.” I have yet to find a single Leicester fan who can believe Kalac went on to play in a Champions League Final and the 2006 World Cup.

Selected Odds
Leicester – 4/9 (Blue Square)
Draw – 18/5 (extrabet)
Stevenage – 9/1 (Bet365)

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