In October 2012, the site was asked to pick five memorable games played at the Lamex stadium. This was for a Comet supplement that in part was discussing the possibility of Stevenage FC moving to a new stadium. The article follows…
Stevenage Football Club has achieved so much in its short life – promotions, cup wins, and FA Cup runs and in the process has given all Boro supporters so much to cheer over the years. Many of the key games have been played out in front of the home crowd at the Lamex and I have been set the unenviable task of picking the five most memorable games played on the hallowed home turf. It is often said that football is all about opinion and selecting the five for this article was certainly a difficult task which I am sure will leave some readers in disbelief that certain games did not make the cut. So let the debate begin! My selected games in no particular order are;
Stevenage 4 – 0 Woking (1995/1996). This game was first on my list and was never in doubt of making the cut. The game played on Easter Monday in front of a crowd just short of 3,000 people saw Boro thrash rivals and fellow title contenders Woking and in doing so put Boro in the driving seat for the title run in. The scorers that day were Efe Sodje, Neil Trebble, Dave Venables and Barry Hayles. Boro went on to win the Conference that year but were denied promotion to the Football League due to stadium regulations.
Stevenage 2 – 2 Macclesfield Town (2010/2011). It took another 15 seasons before Boro again won the Conference title and took their place in the Football League for the first time. The historic first ever league game involving Stevenage FC was not particularly a glamorous pairing against an ex Conference foe, but makes the cut due to the significance of the game to Stevenage FC and their supporters. Peter Vincenti took the honour of scoring Boro’s first ever League goal, with Charlie Griffin netting a late equaliser to ensure Boro earned their first ever League point.
Stevenage 1 – 1 Newcastle United (1997/1998). This FA Cup game arguably put Stevenage on the footballing map by capturing the imagination not only of the town but also the nation. The hype surrounding the game led to national coverage in the media, the match being sponsored by a national newspaper and a temporary stand being erected where the Matrix south stand now resides to house the travelling Geordies. Just over 8,000 packed into Broadhall Way to witness the game against the Premiership outfit. Giuliano Grazioli’s equaliser cancelled out the Alan Shearer opener with Boro pushing their illustrious opponents all the way to earn a well-deserved draw and replay at St James’ Park. Boro lost the return leg 2-1 with Gary Crawshaw scoring the consolation goal as Boro finally left the competition with their heads held high.
Stevenage 3 – 1 Newcastle United (2010/2011). Some 13 seasons later, Stevenage were again paired with the Geordie giants in the FA Cup but this time Boro made no mistake at home, running out comfortable winners with goals from Michael Bostwick, a Stacey Long deflected shot and Peter Winn making sure that Boro fans could finally celebrate victory over the Premiership opposition.
Stevenage 5 – 1 Sheffield Wednesday (2011/2012) In the early months of Boro’s inaugural League 1 season, Stevenage signalled to the football world that not only were they intent on establishing themselves in league 1 following successive promotions, but were also aiming to compete for honours again. Sheffield Wednesday were put to the sword in impressive fashion with Michael Bostwick, Lawrie Wilson, John Mousinho, Darius Charles and Craig Reid all finding the net to silence the travelling fans and leave the Lamex in raptures in what was a fantastic night of football.
I am proud to say that I have witnessed the rise of Stevenage FC through the footballing pyramid over a number of decades and that I was present for the 5 selected games and hundreds more during that time, which has seen our club rise through the non league ranks, establish themselves in the non league elite and then finally gaining promotion not once but twice to reach the third tier of English football. What an incredible journey and who would bet against the story continuing this year?
Paul Kennedy is the co-founder of the Stevenage FC History website www.stevenagefchistory.com which is due to be launched on Monday 29th October. The site is looking to document the rise of Stevenage FC through the football Pyramid in easy to read articles and photos. The Comet is proud to announce that they have agreed to be picture sponsors for the site. Pre-launch news will be available on the website twitter account @Boro1976.