2008/9

 

Blue Square Premier League 5th
FA Cup 1st Round Lost 0-3 away to Leicester City
FA Trophy Winners Won 2-0 at Wembley against York City

Graham Westley returned to Boro as manager in the close season following the resignation of Peter Taylor, the previous incumbent, at the end of the 2007/08 campaign. His re-appointment initially split opinion of the fan base but certainly heralded a very successful period for the North Hertfordshire side starting with his very first season back in the hot seat.

In the League, the prize of promotion to the Football League proved elusive as ever for Boro as Stevenage made it to the Play Off Semi Final losing 3-4 on aggregate to near neighbours Cambridge United despite taking a 3-1 lead into the 2nd leg.

© Matt Ranson

© Matt Ranson

The start of the season has to rank as one of the worst for any Boro side. In the month of August the first 5 games of the season resulted in 2 draws and 3 losses including an opening day thrashing on the road by Wrexham 5-0.

The months of September and October saw Boro steady the ship not least due to the striking prowess of Steve Morison. In the 11 league games played in these months the striker scored 10 times as Boro won 7 of the games, drawing 1 and losing 3.

If the early autumn gave Boro supporters cause for hope then the month of November seemed to quickly dash any thoughts of promotion.  The month started with a morale boosting away win over arch rivals Woking 0-1 with Peter Vincenti finding the net that day, but was followed by a draw and 3 straight losses including Wrexham completing the win double over Boro winning 1-2 at Broadhall Way. Calum Willock was the scorer for Boro that day.

Boro had long been noted for becoming stronger as the season wore on and the 2008/2009 season was no different. Starting with the first game of December, a 2-0 home win over Lewes courtesy of that man Steve Morison and Peter Vincenti , Boro went on an 18 League game unbeaten run, winning 11 and drawing 7 in that period.

Again, the upturn in form can be attributed at least in part to Steve Morison as he scored 10 goals in this period. However, the defence also had a fantastic run only conceding 10 goals in that 18 game spell, including securing 9 clean sheets which at any level of football is a fantastic defensive performance.

Northwich Mark RobertsAnother significant factor in the tightening of the defence was the capture of Mark Roberts from Northwich Victoria towards the end of November.

The run was to brought to an end ironically by fellow play- off contenders Kidderminster Harriers with a 4-2 away reverse in the first League game of April. Lee Boylan and Mitchell Cole limited the damage for Boro that day.

However, Boro were not to be denied , the last 6 games of the regular season saw Boro reach the Play offs as they won 4 of their remaining games including home wins against fellow play- off contenders Cambridge United and Kidderminster Harriers 2-1 (Junior Mendes and Lee Boylan) and 3-1 ( Lee Boylan 2 and Steve Morison) respectively.

The stage was set for Boro to have another tilt at the play offs with another chance to reach the promised land of the Football League. To add extra spice, the opponents over the two legs were near neighbours Cambridge United. Courtesy of a 5th placed finish in the regular season, the first leg was held at The Lamex on Thursday 30th April 2009.

© The Comet

© The Comet

As you would expect from a local derby a healthy crowd of 4,446 were present and they were privileged to witness a thrilling game with its far share of talking points, including the harsh sending off of Boro midfielder Darren Murphy in stoppage time at the end of the first half with the game standing at 1-0. (Boro scorer – Mark Roberts).

Luckily for Stevenage a rousing performance by the 10 men in the second half lead to a further 2 goals for Boro, inevitably both scored by Steve Morison despite Boro conceding a quick fire equaliser at the start of the second half. This ensured Boro won the tie 3-1 taking a 2 goal cushion into the 2nd leg at the Abbey.

The straight red card awarded to Darren Murphy was rescinded on appeal allowing Darren to play in the second leg and the FA Trophy final a few days later. A decision that must have come as a great relief to the young midfielder.

© Matt Ranson

© Matt Ranson

The manner in which Boro won the first leg seemed to bode well for Boro in terms of progressing to the play off final but it wasn’t to be with Boro losing the return 3-0 after the score at the regulation 90 minutes ended 2-0, tying the aggregate score.

It appeared that the final place would be decided by penalties but Scott Rendell broke Boro hearts a minute from the end of extra time. With penalties looming, Chris Day spilled a Paul Carden shot and Scott Rendell raced onto the loose ball to side foot into the net and send Cambridge United into the Play Off final at Wembley.

There was double heart break at the final whistle for Scott Laird as not only had Boro missed the chance of playing for a league spot at Wembley but he also picked up a second yellow card in the game resulting in a sending off meaning that he would be ineligible to play in the FA Trophy at Wembley a few days later.
Boro of course went on to win the Trophy.

Cambridge United lost the Play Off final 2-0, losing to Torquay United and in the process missing their chance to return to the Football League.

Doing the double win over…..

Barrow Away (30th Aug) 1-3 Laird, Wilson, Willock
Home (17th Jan) 3-0 Morison (2), Bridges
Altrincham Home (13th Sep) 3-0 Morison (2), Cole
Away (28th Feb) 1-2 Drury, Roberts
Salisbury City Home (18th Oct) 2-0 Albrighton, Morison
Away (24th Jan) 2-4 Drury, Cole (3)
Woking Away (1st Nov) 0-1 Vincenti
Home (24th Feb) 1-0 Boylan
Lewes Away (6th Dec) 0-2 Morison, Vincenti
Home (3rd Jan) 3-0 Morison (2), Boylan


On the receiving end

Wrexham Home (9th Aug) 0-5 No Boro scorer
Away (29th Nov) 2-1 Willock
Eastbourne Borough Home (12th Aug) 1-3 Drury
Away (12th Oct) 2-1 Odhiambo
© The Comet

© The Comet

In the FA Cup Boro had a disappointing run by their own high standards. Stevenage entered the competition at the 4th qualifying round and were handed a seemingly straight forward home tie against Horsham. The game ended 2-2 with Mitchell Cole and Scott Laird scoring the all important goals.

The replay a few days after the original tie went more to script with Boro running out 4 -1 winners – Daryl McMahon, a brace for Calum Willock and Steve Morison firing Boro into the 1st round proper.

Boro were drawn against Leicester City, then a League 1 side at the Walkers Stadium.  This was to be the last match for Boro in the FA Cup as the Foxes ran out comfortable 3-0 winners on the day.

© The Comet

© The Comet

In the FA Trophy, Stevenage were to claim the ultimate prize for the second time in three years, beating York City 2-0 in the final at Wembley Stadium in front of a 27,102 attendance.

Boro proved to be free scoring throughout the campaign starting in the 1st round with a comfortable 4-1 victory at the Lamex over near neighbours St Albans City. Andy Drury, Lee Boylan and a brace from Steve Morison was enough for Boro to comfortably make progress in the competition.

Farnborough Town away from home waited for Boro in the 2nd round. A tricky looking tie was overcome 0-2 with Mark Roberts and Lee Boylan ensuring that Boro progressed without the need for a replay.

Boro were drawn at home for both the 3rd and quarter final rounds of the competition running out comfortable winners each time against Burton Albion and Forest Green Rovers 4-0 and 4-1 respectively. The goals came from predictable sources – David Bridges, another brace for Steve Morison and Mitchell Cole for the game against the Brewers and Andy Drury, Steve Morison, David Bridges and Mark Roberts in the match against Rovers.

© The Comet

© The Comet

The double headed Semi Final was against Ebbsfleet United with the first leg at home. An exciting match ended 3-2 in favour of Boro. Boro raced to a 2-0 lead in the game only to be pegged back to a 2-2 score-line.  Boro grabbed the winner with only 10 minutes of the game remaining. Boro rode their luck for those remaining minutes but held on to take a slim 1 goal advantage to Stonebridge Road.

Liam Daish, the Fleet manager had to watch the minutes after the decisive goal from the stands as he was sent off for kicking a water bottle onto the field of play in reaction to Boro scoring.Steve Morison, David Bridges and Lee Boylan were on the mark for Boro that day.

Stacy Long, who equalised for Fleet, went on to sign for Boro in the following pre season.

The return tie was a little less absorbing as a spectacle with Ebbsfleet trying everything to open up a Boro defence who were content to hold them out and play counter attacking football when the opportunity arose.  As the Fleet became more frustrated and the clock ran down, Fleet threw caution to the wind which allowed Boro to counter attack at will.

© The Comet

© The Comet

Peter Vincenti came on for Boro with 4 minutes of the game remaining and managed to secure the tie on the stroke of full time drilling the ball into the bottom far corner of the net to finally overcome the Kent outfit.So Boro were in the final once more and were pitted against York City.  Stevenage went into the game following a disappointing defeat at the hands of Cambridge United in the Blue Square Premier Play- off Semi Final a few days earlier.

Boro looked in no mood to suffer another defeat in an important game and in truth bossed the vast majority of the final.  The Boro faithful were becoming a little tense as whilst Stevenage were in control they could not find the net.

DW09 TROPHY 267 copy

© The Comet

It wasn’t until the 69th minute that Steve Morison (who else?) settled the nerves of the Boro contingent inside Wembley reacting to a loose ball following a corner, firing it sweetly past the stranded York goalie.

Boro remained in control after taking the lead and managed to make the score-line better reflect their superiority in the game when Steve Morison turned provider taking a quick throw-in to Lee Boylan who half volleyed over the head of the York keeper in the 90th minute of the game.

A spectacular end to what turned out to be a rollercoaster season.Steve Morison was awarded the Man of the Match a fitting tribute to the marksman in what turned out to be his last game in a Boro shirt.  He joined Championship side Millwall in the following pre-season.

 

© Matt Ranson

© Matt Ranson

© Matt Ranson

© Matt Ranson

 

 

 

 

 

2009/2010 in numbers……

Blue Square Premier 5th place finish                           23 League wins

       12 League draws                               11 League losses

Goal difference + 19                  73 League goals scored

54 League goals conceded        Steve Morison top scorer – 32 goals

Round 1 exit from FA Cup

                27,102 the attendance at Wembley for the FA Trophy Final

                                             2 goal winning margin at Wembley

Average attendance at Broadhall Way 1,950


2008/9 Squad

1 Ashley Bayes 2 Lawrie Wilson 3 Scott Laird 4 Eddie Odhiambo 5 Jon Ashton / Luke Oliver
6 Mark Albrighton 7 Darren Murphy / Anthony Thomas 8 Gary Mills 9 Iyseden Christie /Dino Maamria 10 Lee Boylan
11Tommy Black / Junior Mendes 13 Daryl McMahon 14 Mark Roberts 15 John Martin 16 Chris Day
18 David Bridges 19 Calum Willock 20 Steve Morison 21 Mitchell Cole 23 Andy Drury
24 Michael Bostwick 25 Ronnie Henry 26 Liam McDevitt 27 Jerome Anderson 28 Kieron St Aime
30 Peter Vincenti 32 Ed Upson – Elliott Buchanan – Zak Burke – Tyrone Cazaubon
Chris Nurse Jordan Parkes

The Kit

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Programme Editor: Stuart Govier

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Acknowledgments

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