|Final SkyBet League 1 Position||24th||Relegated to SkyBet League 2|
|FA Cup||4th Round||Lost 0-4 to Everton|
|Capital One Cup||2nd Round||Lost 2-1 to Everton|
|Johnstones Paint Trophy||Semi Final (South)||Lost 3-1 to Swindon on penalties (after 1-1- draw)|
The 2013/14 pre-season was another year of change as new manager Graham Westley looked to build upon the team inherited from Gary Smith the previous season, with a number of players being released or not taking up renewal offers. At the same time, a number of new players arrived at the club.
Whilst Graham managed to adjust the squad to his style of play, crucially a number of players remained on contract which did not figure in his plans.
In the League, the season started with a 3-4 home defeat to Oldham Athletic, which was a sign of things to come as Boro lost their following 2 games to Swindon and Leyton Orient, before finally notching up their first win of the season away to Notts County – courtesy of a very late (and much welcomed) strike by James Dunne.
Despite the win, league form still remained flat – picking up just 2 points over the following 6 games, including defeats to Preston North End, Carlisle, MK Dons and Coventry City.
Perhaps one of the highlights of an otherwise unenjoyable season was the short term signing of striker Francois Zoko, formerly at Carlisle United, before spending time at Notts County and eventually being picked up by Stevenage on a free in October. The front man made a quick impact, scoring 2 goals against the much fancied Brentford, to give the Boro a much needed home victory.
Form remained erratic, losing the following game against Walsall 1-2, and picking up convincing wins away to Crewe (3-0, Morais (2), Freeman) and at Home to Crawley Town (2-0, Hartley, Doughty). The following fixtures gave no respite as Boro were pitched against promotion chasers Wolverhampton Wanderers, Rotherham United and Peterborough United. The team lost out to Wolves (2-0) and Rotherham (0-3), but against expectations, managed to take all 3 points from Peterborough, courtesy of an early strike from Lucas Akins – in spite of playing for the last 30 minutes with 10 men, following Jimmy Smiths’ dismissal.
Sadly, the performance against Peterborough wasn’t enough to trigger a resurgence, and the team only managed to win 2 points from a possible 21 over the following 7 games. Even in early January, talk among the Boro faithful was of relegation – as the team sat at rock bottom in the league, having won just 19 points from 21 games.
Patchy form continued, with unexpected home wins against Swindon (2-0) and Gillingham (3-1) breaking up a losing streak which saw the Boro concede all 3 points to Notts County, Rotherham, Leyton Orient and Peterborough.
With 30 games played, Boro were cemented in 24th place in League 1, having won only 25 points and with a goal difference of -25.
But – as has been the case in previous campaigns, the team started a run – and were unbeaten in the following 6 games – taking all 3 points from Crewe, Bradford and Tranmere – whilst holding Crawley, Preston and Carlisle to a draw.
However – the run of form was shortlived, as the team gained only 5 points out of a possible 30, finishing bottom of the league with 42 points – and were relegated for only the second time in the clubs short history.
Doing the double win over….
|Crewe Alexandra||Away (22nd Oct)||0-3||Morais (2), Freeman|
|Home (25th Feb)||1-0||Zoko|
On the receiving end
|Oldham Athletic||Home (3rd Aug)||3-4||Charles, Tansey, Morais|
|Away (11th Jan)||1-0||No Boro scorer|
|Leyton Orient||Home (17th Aug)||0-1||No Boro scorer|
|Away (18th Feb)||2-0||No Boro scorer|
|MK Dons||Away (28th Sep)||4-1||OG|
|Home (22nd Mar)||2-3||Parrett, Akins|
|Coventry City||Home (5th Oct)||0-1||No Boro scorer|
|Away (26th Mar)||1-0||No Boro scorer|
|Rotherham United||Home (16th Nov)||0-3||No Boro scorer|
|Away (15th Feb)||2-1||Zoko|
|Shrewsbury Town||Home (30th Nov)||1-3||Zoko|
|Away (5th Apr)||1-0||No Boro scorer|
|Colchester United||Away (26th Dec)||4-0||No Boro scorer|
|Home (12th Apr)||2-3||Doughty, Freeman|
|Bristol City||Away (29th Dec)||4-1||Zoko|
|Home (21st Apr)||1-3||Freeman|
If the League form was very disappointing, Boro fared much better in the cup competitions.
In the FA Cup, Boro were knocked out of the competition in the fourth round by Everton in a four nil reverse at the Lamex in front of a capacity crowd and the BT Sport cameras. Wins over Portsmouth and Stourbridge, 2-1 and 4-0 respectively at home, followed by a fine win away at Championship outfit Doncaster Rovers 2-3 at the Keepmoat Stadium set up the tie with the Premiership club.
Francois Zoko who had only joined the club in October was prolific in front of goal scoring 4 goals (2 versus Portsmouth, and 1 against both Stourbridge and Doncaster Rovers) and certainly gave Boro a cutting edge in the competition.
Boro had started the season with an attractive but also difficult looking home tie in the Capital One Cup against Championship side Ipswich Town. Boro ran out comfortable winners on the night 2-0 with both Filipe Morais and debutant Jordan Burrow finding the net that evening. The reward was a tie against Everton at Goodison Park in round 2, where Boro put in a fantastic performance in front of a 22,730 crowd, taking the lead courtesy of a fine Luke Freeman strike before eventually losing the tie 2-1 – after taking the Premiership club to extra time.
Boro had a quiet start to the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy drawing a bye in Round one. When the football started, Boro were drawn at home against fellow League 1 opponents MK Dons running out 2-1 winners. Leyton Orient were to follow, again at the Lamex, with Boro edging through the tie 3-2. Boro were then drawn away in the Southern Area semi final against Swindon Town.
A close encounter saw Boro come from behind, courtesy of that man Zoko to level the game 1-1 and although Boro had chances to win the game in regulation time, the tie was eventually decided on penalties (no extra time played) with Swindon winning 3-1 in a very poor shoot out.
2013/2014 in numbers……
11 Wins in League 1 26 Losses in League 1
Points won in the season 42 Goals scored in league 46
2 Relegations in our history 24th place finish in League 1
9 Drawn games Goal Difference -26
17 Goals for Top Scorer Francois Zoko 4th Round exit in FA Cup
Capital One Cup exit in Round 2
|1 Steve Arnold||2 Sam Wedgebury||3 Lee Hills||4 Ben Chorley / Bira Dembele||5 Jon Ashton ©|
|6 Luke Jones||7 Filipe Morais||8 James Dunne / John Mousinho||9 Darius Charles||10 Jordan Burrow|
|11 Lucas Akins||12 Francois Zoko||13 Dean Parrett / Don Cowan||14 Simon Heslop||15 Luke Freeman|
|16 Chris Day||17 Greg Tansey / Rohdell Gordon||18 Matt Ball||19 Marcus Haber||20 Jimmy Smith|
|21 Oumare Tounkara||22 David Gray / Curtis Obeng||23 Dani Lopez / Craig Reid||24 Michael Doughty||25 Tom Flanaghan / Adam Smith|
|26 Anderson Banvo / Bruno Andrade||27 Ryan Johnson||28 Joseph N’Guessan||29 Peter Hartley||30 Anthony Furlonge|
|31 Fejiri Okenabihrie||32 Robin Shroot||33 Conor Henderson||34 Roarie Deacon||35 Ryan Towner|
|40 Jason Goodliffe / Ben Smith||– Tom Flanaghan||– George Allen||– Jhai Dillon||– Darren Murphy|
|– Michael Thalassitis|
Programme Editor : Mark Venables
Kit image : Copyright Historical Football Kits and reproduced by kind permission.