Saturday will be only the seventh time that Dale and Stevenage have faced each other in our history.
The Boro have the better head-to-head record with four wins, whilst Dale have recorded one win with the remaining game ending in a draw.
The sides met earlier in the season, when Steve Evans’ side came away with a 1-0 win, as Carl Piergianni headed in Arthur Read’s corner.
We’ve taken a look at a couple of the meetings between the teams…
Tuesday 23rd November 2021 – Dale 2-2 Stevanage
When the two met in late November 2021 the spoils were shared. However, Dale should taken more from the game after recording 26 shots on target.
Jake Beesley put Dale ahead after just give minutes. Liam Kelly’s corner was met by Corey O’Keeffe on the edge of the area, he sent a header into the centre of the box, which was met by Beesley who turned it home.
The chances continued to come for Dale but a second goal eluded them. Two of those fell to Alex Newby, who sent one effort over the bar from the edge of the area and had another saved by the legs of Adam Smith, who was between the sticks for Stevenage.
With 18 minutes on the clock Beesley came agonisingly close to getting his second. His header had beaten Smith, but it bounced narrowly wide of the post.
Dale felt like they should’ve been out of sight when Stevenage equalised in the 28th minute. Elliot List fired beyond Jay Lynch from just inside the area, scoring his 11th goal of the season.
The home side didn’t let this stop their relentless pressure to get a second goal. Just eight minutes after being brought level, Dale put themselves back in front. O’Keeffe’s cross found Josh Andrews, who bundled the ball home from close range.
Smith then denied Stephen Dooley at his near post, before holding Beesley’s header on the follow up.
Two minutes after the break, the visitors levelled the scoring for the second time. List had latched onto a ball over the top and slotted home after rounding Lynch.
Dale nearly found themselves behind in the 52nd minute. Lynch pulled off a great save with his legs to deny Jamie Reid, before Jeriel Dorsett cleared away Elliot Osborne’s rebound on the line.
O’Keeffe squandered Dale’s best chance of the half as he struck across the goal and wide of the post.
Up the other end, Arthur Read’s strike travelled through a crowded box before creeping past the post.
Smith diving to his left, somehow kept out Andrews’ point blank header to keep the game level.
Dale couldn’t find a deserved third, and the spoils were shared with Stevenage leaving as the happier side.
Saturday 4th December 2004 – Stevenage 0-2 Dale
Grant Holt scored a brace as Dale sealed an FA Cup second round win against Stevenage Borough – as they were known then - earning them a third round tie away to Charlton Athletic.
With 20 minutes on the clock the first real chance of the game arrived. Stevenage were awarded a free-kick which Justin Gregory took, but it was saved well by Matt Gilks.
Minutes later Dale felt like they should have had a penalty. Paul Tait got past his man and attempted to round goalkeeper Andy Woodman, before being brought down. The referee waved away the shouts from the Rochdale players and the game continued.
After the break, the home side did offer a chance of their own and nearly surprised Dale by taking the lead. Dannie Bulman raced into the box and go on the end of a pass before firing towards goal. The net rippled, but luckily for Dale the ball had gone just wide of the post and hit the side netting.
Dale needed to react and that’s just what they did. Leo Bertos smashed the ball against the bar, before turning provider and creating the opening goal.
Bertos had two chances in quick succession, with Woodman only parrying his shot into the path of Grant Holt. The prolific bagsman made no mistake and sent a diving header into the back of the Borough net.
Holt would continue to lead the Dale attack, creating a couple of chances with only a quarter of an hour left to play. Ernie Cooksey fed a ball through to Holt in a dangerous area, but the 'keeper was equal to it this time.
It was the next effort where Holt thought that he’d got his second. The striker continued to cause Stevenage problems as he sent a curling effort towards the goal and past the ‘keeper. The ball looked to be in and Holt actually started to run away to celebrate, before seeing the ball ricochet back off the post and away from the goal.
The pressure continued from Dale and in the 87th minute it showed, as Andy Woodman was sent off for the home side. Bertos raced forward with the ball beating the challenging defender, before knocking the ball past Woodman who brought down the Dale man.
The goal was gaping for Bertos, who after rounding the ‘keeper would have had an empty net to tap into.
Woodman was sent off and Stevenage had to send one of their outfielders in net as they had used all of their substitutes.
Shortly after, Holt put the game to bed and sent Dale into the next round of the FA Cup.
Jamie Clarke broke forward and Stevenage were left short at the back after sending men forward in an attempt to get level. Clarke found Holt with a pass, who beat his marker with ease before firing home into the bottom corner with his left foot.